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DOSTOEVSKY: 
LETTERS AND REMINISCENCE 





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DOSTOEVSKY: 

LETTERS AND REMINISCENCES 

TRANSLATED FROM THE RUSSIAN BY 

S. S. KOTELIANSKY 
AND J. MIDDLETON MURRY 



С V>av>V try W^Tf^cbtAR M\s>'ma^,.. ) 






LONDON 

CHATTO & WINDUS 

1923 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY 

T. AND A. CONSTABLE LTD. 

EDINBURGH 

* 

ALL RIGHTS 

RESERVED 






CONTENTS 

LETTER FROM F. M. DOSTOEVSKY TO HIS 

BROTHER page 1 

DOSTOEVSKY'S LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 15 

REMINISCENCES OF DOSTOEVSKY BY HIS WIFE 97 

DOSTOEVSKY'S LETTERS TO HIS WIFE ON THE 

POUSHKIN CELEBRATIONS 155 

DOSTOEVSKY AND POBIEDONOSZEV : SOME 

LETTERS 237 

BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX 267 



LETTER FROM F. M. DOSTOEVSKY 
TO HIS BROTHER 



LETTER TO HIS BROTHER 

The following is the full text of Dostoevsky 's letter, 
written on the day he was sentenced to death, 
December 22, 1849, to his brother Mihail. Only the 
first paragraph of the letter has been published before. 
It is now published in full for the first time. It is a 
document of exceptional importance. 

The original letter cannot now be traced. But a 
copy of it, made by Madame Dostoevsky, is now kept 
in the Central Archives. It has now been made public. 

Mihail Dostoevsky was, after all, allowed to see 
Fiodor before his departure for Siberia. In his 
Reminiscences (1881), A. P. Miliukov relates that Fiodor 
said to his brother at parting : 

' During these three months I have gone through 
much ; I mean, I have gone through much in 
myself; and now there are the things I am going 
to see and go through. There will be much to be 
written.' 



The Peter and Paul Fortress, 
December 22, 1849. 

MlHAIL MlHAILOVICH DOSTOEVSKY, 

Nevsky Prospect, opposite Gryazny Street, 
in the house of Neslind. 

Brother, my precious friend ! all is settled ! I 
am sentenced to four years' hard labour in the 
fortress (I believe, of Orenburg) and after that to 
serve as a private. To-day, the 22nd of December, 
we were taken to the Semionov Drill Ground. 
There the sentence of death was read to all of us, we 
were told to kiss the Cross, our swords were broken 
over our heads, and our last toilet was made (white 
shirts). Then three were tied to the pillar for 
execution. I was the sixth. Three at a time were 
called out ; consequently, I was in the second batch 
and no more than a minute was left me to live. 
I remembered you, brother, and all yours ; during 
the last minute you, you alone, were in my mind, 
only then I realised how I love you, dear brother 
mine ! I also managed to embrace Plescheyev and 
Durov who stood close to me and to say good-bye 



6 DOSTOEVSKY 

to them. Finally the retreat was sounded, and 
those tied to the pillar were led back, and it was 
announced to us that His Imperial Majesty granted 
us our lives. Then followed the present sentences. 
Palm alone has been pardoned, and returns with 
his old rank to the army. 

I was just told, dear brother, that to-day or 
to-morrow we are to be sent off. I asked to see you. 
But I was told that this was impossible ; I may 
only write you this letter : make haste and give 
me a reply as soon as you can. I am afraid that 
you may somehow have got to know of our death- 
sentence. From the windows of the prison-van, 
when we were taken to the Semionov Drill Ground, 
I saw a multitude of people ; perhaps the news 
reached you, and you suffered for me. Now you 
will be easier on my account. Brother ! I have 
not become downhearted or low-spirited. Life is 
everywhere life, life in ourselves, not in what is 
outside us. There will be people near me, and to 
be a man among people and remain a man for ever, 
not to be downhearted nor to fall in whatever 
misfortunes may befall me — this is life ; this is 
the task of life. I have realised this. This idea 
has entered into my flesh and into my blood. Yes, 
it 's true ! The head which was creating, living 
with the highest life of art, which had realised and 
grown used to the highest needs of the spirit, that 



LETTER TO HIS BROTHER 7 

head has already been cut off from my shoulders. 
There remain the memory and the images created 
but not yet incarnated by me. They will lacerate 
me, it is true ! But there remains in me my heart 
and the same flesh and blood which can also love, 
and suffer, and desire, and remember, and this, 
after all, is life. On voit le soleil ! Now, good-bye, 
brother ! Don't grieve for me ! 

Now about material things : my books (I have 
the Bible still) and several sheets of my manu- 
script, the rough plan of the play and the novel 
(and the finished story A Child's Tale) have been 
taken away from me, and in all probability will 
be got by you. I also leave my overcoat and old 
clothes, if you send to fetch them. Now, brother, 
I may perhaps have to march a long distance. 
Money is needed. My dear brother, when you 
receive this letter, and if there is any possibility of 
getting some money, send it me at once. Money I 
need now more than air (for one particular purpose). 
Send me also a few lines. Then if the money from 
Moscow comes, — remember me and do not desert 
me. Well, that is all ! I have debts, 1 but what 
can I do ? 

Kiss your wife and children. Remind them of 
me continually ; see that they do not forget me. 

1 Money owed by Dostoevsky to Krajevsky was paid by A 

Child's Talc. 



8 DOSTOEVSKY 

Perhaps, we shall yet meet some time ! Brother, 
take care of yourself and of your family, live 
quietly and carefully. Think of the future of yoi 
children. . . . Live positively. There has nevei 
yet been working in me such a healthy abundance 
of spiritual life as now. But will my body endure ? 
I do not know. I am going away sick, I suffer 
from scrofula. But never mind ! Brother, I have 
already gone through so much in life that now 
hardly anything can frighten me. Let come what 
may ! At the first opportunity I shall let you know 
about myself. Give the Maikovs my farewell and 
last greetings. Tell them that I thank them all 
for their constant interest in my fate. Say a few 
words for me, as warm as possible, as your heart 
will prompt you, to Eugenia Petrovna. 1 I wish 
her much happiness, and shall ever remember her 
with grateful respect. Press the hands of Nikolay 
Apollonovich 2 and Apollon Maikov, and also of all 
the others. Find Yanovsky. Press his hand, 
thank him. Finally, press the hands of all who 
have not forgotten me. And those who have 
forgotten me — remember me to them also. Kiss 
our brother Kolya. Write a letter to our brother 
Andrey and let him know about me. Write also 



1 Eugenia Petrovna was the mother of the poet Apollon Maikov, 
Dostoevsky'a friend. 

2 N. A. Maikov, the father of A. N. Maikov. 



LETTER TO HIS BROTHER 9 

to Uncle and Aunt. This I ask you in my own 
name, and greet them for me. Write to our sisters : 
I wish them happiness. 

And maybe, we shall meet again some time, 
brother ! Take care of yourself, go on living, for 
the love of God, until we meet. Perhaps some 
time we shall embrace each other and recall our 
youth, our golden time that was, our youth 
and our hopes, which at this very instant I am 
tearing out from my heart with my blood, to bury 
them. 

Can it indeed be that I shall never take a pen 
into my hands ? I think that after the four years 
there may be a possibility. I shall send you every- 
thing that I may write, if I write anything, my 
God ! How many imaginations, lived through by 
me, created by me anew, will perish, will be ex- 
tinguished in my brain or will be spilt as poison in 
my blood ! Yes, if I am not allowed to write, I 
shall perish. Better fifteen years of prison with a 
pen in my hands ! 

Write to me more often, write more details, 
more, more facts. In every letter write about all 
kinds of family details, of trifles, don't forget. 
This will give me hope and life. If you knew 
how your letters revived me here in the fortress. 
These last two months and a half, when it was 
forbidden to write or receive a letter, have been 



10 DOSTOEVSKY 

very hard on me. I was ill. The fact that you 
did not send me money now and then worried me 
on your account ; it meant you yourself were in 
great need ! Kiss the children once again ; their 
lovely little faces do not leave my mind. Ah, 
that they may be happy ! Be happy yourself too, 
brother, be happy ! 

But do not grieve, for the love of God, do not 
grieve for me ! Do believe that I am not down- 
hearted, do remember that hope has not deserted 
me. In four years there will be a mitigation of 
my fate. I shall be a private soldier, — no longer 
a prisoner, and remember that some time I shall 
embrace you. I was to-day in the grip of death for 
three-quarters of an hour ; I have lived it through 
with that idea ; I was at the last instant and now 
I live again ! 

If any one has bad memories of me, if I have 
quarrelled with any one, if I have created in 
any one an unpleasant impression — tell them they 
should forget it, if you manage to meet them. There 
is no gall or spite in my soul ; I should dearly love 
to embrace any one of my former friends at this 
moment. It is a comfort, I experienced it to-day 
when saying good-bye to my dear ones before death. 
I thought at that moment that the news of the 
execution would kill you. But now be easy, I am 
still alive and shall live in the future with the 



LETTER TO HIS BROTHER 11 

thought that some time I shall embrace you. Only 
this is now in my mind. 

What are you doing ? What have you been 
thinking to-day ? Do you know about us ? How 
cold it was to-day ! 

Ah, if only my letter reaches you soon. Other- 
wise I shall be for four months without news of 
you. I saw the envelopes in which you sent money 
during the last two months ; the address was 
written in your hand, and I was glad that you were 
well. 

When I look back at the past and think how 
much time has been wasted in vain, how much 
time was lost in delusions, in errors, in idleness, in 
ignorance of how to live, how I did not value time, 
how often I sinned against my heart and spirit, 
— my heart bleeds. Life is a gift, life is happiness, 
each minute might have been an age of happiness. 
Si jeunesse savait ! Now, changing my life, I am 
being reborn into a new form. Brother ! I swear 
to you that I shall not lose hope, and shall preserve 
my spirit and heart in purity. I shall be reborn 
to a better thing. That is my whole hope, my whole 
comfort ! 

The life in prison has already sufficiently killed 
in me the demands of the flesh which were not 
wholly pure ; I took little heed of myself before. 
Now privations are nothing to me, and, therefore, 






12 DOSTOEVSKY 



do not fear that any material hardship will kill me. 
This cannot be ! Ah ! To have health ! 

Good-bye, good-bye, my brother ! When shall 
I write you again ? You will receive from me as 
detailed an account as possible of my journey. 
If I can only preserve my health, then everything 
will be right ! 

Well, good-bye, good-bye, brother ! I embrace 
you closely, I kiss you closely. Remember me 
without pain in your heart. Do not grieve, I pray 
you, do not grieve for me ! In the next letter I 
shall tell you how I go on. Remember then what 
I have told you : plan out your life, do not 
waste it, arrange your destiny, think of your 
children. Oh, to see you, to see you ! Good-bye ! 
Now I tear myself away from everything that was 
dear ; it is painful to leave it ! It is painful to 
break oneself in two, to cut the heart in two. 
Good-bye ! Good-bye ! But I shall see you, I 
am convinced — I hope ; do not change, love me, 
do not let your memory grow cold, and the thought 
of your love will be the best part of my life. Good- 
bye, good-bye, once more ! Good-bye to all ! 
— Your brother Fiodor Dostoevsky. 

Dec. 22, 1849. 

At my arrest several books were taken away 
from me. Only two of them were prohibited books. 



LETTER TO HIS BROTHER 13 

Won't you get the rest for yourself ? But there is 
this request : one of the books was The Work of 
Valerian Maikov : his critical essays — Eugenia 
Petrovna's copy. It was her treasure, and she 
lent it me. At my arrest I asked the police officer 
to return that book to her, and gave him the 
address. I do not know if he returned it to her. 
Make enquiries ! I do not want to take this memory 
away from her. Good-bye, good-bye, once more ! 
— Your F. Dostoevsky. 

On the margins : 

I do not know if I shall have to march or go on 
horses. I believe I shall go on horses. Perhaps ! 

Once again press Emily Fiodorovna's hand, kiss 
the little ones. Remember me to Krayevsky : 
perhaps . . . 

Write me more particularly about your arrest, 
confinement, and liberation. 



F. M. DOSTOEVSKY'S LETTERS 
TO A. N. MAIKOV 



i§ 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 

The eight hitherto unpublished letters written by 
F. M. Dostoevsky to A. N. Maikov are taken from the 
originals kept in the Poushkin Department of the 
Russian Academy of Sciences in Petersburg. These 
letters are preserved there, together with Dostoevsky 's 
other letters to Maikov which have already been 
published. 

The letters here published are of great interest, 
chiefly owing to their outspoken tone, but also as 
containing many facts bearing on Dostoevsky 's life 
abroad during the period 1867-1871. 

Maikov was a great friend of Dostoevsky 's, and their 
friendship, which dated from before 1848, was the 
greater because of the affinity of their political views. 

Owing to that affinity ' the friends understood each 
other from their letters, just as well as by personal 
contact.' That is why the letters have a special 
significance. Furthermore, they contain Dostoevsky 's 
most intimate convictions and utterances about Russia 
and the Russian people, his prognostications of the 
future destinies of Russia, and his opinions about the 
' disintegrated ' West. 

These letters also tell the history of Dostoevsky 's 
creation of The Idiot, and the author's own opinion of 
that work ; they afford a clear and concise explanation 
of the idea of The Devils (called The Possessed in the 

В 



18 DOSTOEVSKY 

English translation) ; they contain Dostoevsky's 
account of the psychology of his creative activity ; 
they also include his literary judgments and opinions 
of certain writers, such as Leo Tolstoy, Turgenev, 
Schedrin, and Danilevsky. 



To A. N. Maikov 

January 12th, 1868. 
Geneva, December dlstf 1867t 

My dear and good friend, Apollon Nicolayevich, 
the time has come, at last, when I can write you a 
couple of pages ! What have you thought of me ? 
That I have forgotten you ? I know you won't 
think that. Believe me : I have not had a single 
hour of time ; I mean literally. I have forgotten 
all. What is my poor Pasha 1 doing ; to whom I 
have sent no money now for two months ? (I 
have not had, literally, a farthing to send him !) 
I write to you and shall describe everything, and 
shall await your answer with morbid impatience. 
Being in the dark is killing me. 

And as for me, this is my story : / worked and 
was tortured. You know what it means to com- 
pose ? No, thank God, you do not know ! I 
believe you have never written to order, by the 
yard, and have never experienced that hellish 
torture. — -Having received in advance from the 

* Dostoevsky's stepson, Pavel Alexandrovich Isayev, the son of hie 
first wife by her first marriage. 

19 



20 DOSTOEVSKY 

Russky Viesinik so much money (Horror! 4500 
roubles), I fully hoped in the beginning of the year 
that poesy would not desert me, that the poetical 
idea would flash out and develop artistically towards 
the end of the year, and that I should succeed 
in satisfying every one. Moreover, this seemed to 
me the more likely inasmuch as many creative 
ideas are always flashing through my brain and 
my soul, and being conceived. But then these 
are only flashes, and they need a complete realisa- 
tion, which invariably comes unexpectedly and all 
of a sudden. It is impossible, however, to calcu- 
late when it is going to come. Only afterwards 
when one has received a complete image in one's 
heart can one start artistic composition. And 
then one may even calculate without mistake. 
Well : all through the summer and all through the 
autumn I selected various ideas (some of them most 
ingenious), but my experience enabled me always 
to feel beforehand the falsity, difficulty, or ephemer- 
ality of this or that idea. At last I fixed on one 
and began working, I wrote a great deal ; but on 
the 4th of December (new style) I threw it all to 
the devil. I assure you that the novel might have 
been tolerable ; but I got incredibly sick of it just 
because it was tolerable, and not positively good. 
I did not want that. Well, what was I to do ? 
The 4th of December ! And meanwhile the con- 






LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 21 

ditions of our existence can be described as 
follows. 

Did I tell you, I don't remember (indeed, I re- 
member nothing), that, finally, when all my means 
had come to an end, I wrote to Katkov x asking 
him to send me one hundred roubles a month ? 
I believe I did tell you. He agreed and began 
sending punctually. But in my letter to Katkov, 
thanking him, I confirmed positively, on my honour, 
the assurance I had given him that he should have 
the novel, and that in December I would send a 
considerable part of it to the office. (I promised 
the more readily, because the writing had gone 
well and so much had been written !) After that 
I wrote to him saying that my expenses were extra- 
ordinary and asking whether he could send me out 
of the agreed sum (500 roubles) one instalment of 
200 instead of 100 (for December). His consent 
and the money came in December, just at the 
moment when I had destroyed the novel. What 
was I to do ? All my hopes were shattered. (I 
had realised at last that all my real hopes are set 
on my work and writing novels, that, were I to 
write a decent novel, I could pay off my debt 
to the Editor, and to you, send a biggish sum to 
Pasha and to Emily Fiodorovna, 2 and myself be 

1 Editor and publisher of the monthly review Russkp Viestnik. 

2 The widow of Dostoevsky's brother, Mihail Mihailovich. 



22 DOSTOEVSKY 

able to live. Were I, however, to write a really 
good novel, — I could sell the book-rights and manage 
to get some money, pay half or two-thirds of my 
debts and return to Petersburg.) But everything 
went smash. On receiving the 200 roubles from 
Katkov, I confirmed my promise that the novel 
would arrive without fail in time for the January 
number ; I regretted that theirs* part would reach 
the editorial office late. But I promised it without 
fail for January 1st (old style), and I begged him 
not to bring out the January number of the Russky 
Viestnik without my novel (as the review never 
comes out before the middle of the month). 

After that (since all my future turned on this) I 
began tormenting myself with thinking out a new 
novel. The old one I would not go on with for the 
world. I could not. I thought from the 4th till 
the 18th December (old style) inclusive. On the 
average, I fancy I turned out six plans (at least 
six) every day. My head became a mill. How it 
was I didn't go off my head, I don't understand. 
At last on December 18th I sat down to write the 
new novel ; on the 5th January (new style) I sent 
off to the Editor five chapters of Part I (about 
five printed sheets) with a letter in which I promised 
to send the remaining two chapters of Part I on 
January 10th (new style). Yesterday, the 11th, 
I despatched those two chapters and so have de- 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 23 

livered the whole of Part I, — about six or six and a 
half printed sheets. 

The first parcel they ought to have received 
before December 30th (old style), and the second 
they will get by January 4th ; consequently, if 
they like they can still publish Part I in the 
January number. Part II (of which of course I 
have not yet written a line) I gave my word to 
send to the Editor by February 1st (old style), 
punctually and unfailingly. 

Do understand, my friend ; how could I have 
thought of writing letters to any one, and there is 
the further question, what could I have written 
about ? And therefore, like the humane man you 
are, understand, and, as a friend, forgive me my 
enforced silence. Besides, the time itself was a very 
hard one. 

Now about the novel, so as to make an end of 
that. In the main I myself cannot tell what the 
thing I sent off is like. But as far as I can form an 
opinion — it is not very ship-shape and not at all 
effective. I have long been troubled by a certain 
idea, but I have been afraid to make a novel of it ; 
for the idea is too difficult, and I am not ready for 
it, although the idea is perfectly alluring and I love 
it. That idea is — to depict a thoroughly good man. 
In my opinion, there can be nothing more difficult 
than this, above all in our time. Certainly you will 



24 DOSTOEVSKY 

absolutely agree with this. At one time this 
assumed a partial creative form ; but only a partial 
one, when a complete one was needed. My desper- 
ate position alone compelled me to make use of 
this abortive idea. I took my chance as at roulette : 
4 Perhaps the idea will develop under the pen ! ' 
That is unpardonable. 

On the whole the plan has been created. Details 
occur in the subsequent development, which tempt 
me very much and keep up the ardour in me. 
But the whole ? But the hero ? For the whole 
turns on the figure of the hero. So it has posited 
itself. I am obliged to posit a figure. Will it 
develop under the pen ? And imagine what horrors 
presented themselves : it turned out that besides 
the hero there was also a heroine, consequently 
two heroes ! And apart from these heroes there 
are two more characters — absolutely front-rank 
characters — that is to say, nearly heroes. (Sub- 
sidiary characters, to whom I am greatly in debt — 
a great multitude ; besides, the novel is in eight 
parts.) Out of the four heroes — two are firmly 
outlined in my soul, one is not yet outlined at all, 
and the fourth, the principal, the first — is extra- 
ordinarily faint. Perhaps in my heart he dwells 
firmly enough ; but — he is terribly difficult. At 
any rate I should need twice as much time (this is a 
minimum) in order to write it. 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 25 

The first part, in my opinion, is weak. But it 
seems to me there is still hope for it : the hope is 
in this, that nothing is yet compromised and that 
the subsequent parts are capable of satisfactory 
development. (At least I hope they are !) Part I 
is, essentially, a mere introduction. One thing is 
necessary : that it should arouse a certain curiosity 
about what is going to follow. But of this I 
positively can't judge. I have one reader only — 
Anna Gregorevna [Dostoevsky's wife] ; she likes 
it very much ; but she is no judge in my business. 

In Part II everything must be definitely posited 
(but still far from being explained). Then there 
will be one scene (one of the vital ones), but how is 
it going to turn out ? Yet I have it written in the 
rough, and well. 

On the whole all this is still in the future ; but 
from you I expect a strict judgment. Part II 
will decide everything : it is the most difficult ; 
but write to me also about the first part (although 
I know in my heart that it is not good, write to me 
nevertheless). Besides, I implore you, let me know 
immediately the Russky Viestnik is out — whether 
my novel is published there ? I am still terribly 
afraid it may have arrived too late. And that it 
should appear in January is to me of the utmost 
necessity. Let me know, for the love of God, let 
me know instantly, even if you send only two lines. 



26 DOSTOEVSKY 

When I sent Katkov Part I, I told him almost 
exactly the same as I have told you about my 
novel. The novel is called The Idiot, Yet no man 
can judge himself, especially when he is hot from 
the work. Perhaps Part I also is not so bad. 
If I have not developed the principal character, 
this was necessary by the laws of my whole scheme. 
That is why I await your opinion with such eager 
impatience. But enough about the novel. All 
the work I have done since the 18th of December 
has put me into such a fever that I can neither 
think nor speak of anything else. Now I '11 say a 
few words about our life here from the time I left 
off writing to you. 

My life certainly is work. But we have this to 
the good that, thanks to the monthly receipt of a 
hundred roubles, we are in want of nothing. Anna 
Gregorevna and I live modestly, but quite com- 
fortably. But expenses are impending and a small 
sum, if only a very small one, must always be kept 
in reserve. In a month and a half Anna Gregorevna 
(who bears up excellently) is going to make me a 
father. You realise what expenses are impending. 
But during that period I shall ask for 200 roubles 
per month, and the Editor will send it. I have 
already sent him the equivalent of nearly a thousand 
roubles. And by February 5th I shall have sent 
the equivalent of another 1000 (and perhaps better 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 27 

stuff, more solid, more effective) ; consequently I 
am entitled to ask for a somewhat larger sum. 
By the way, my dear fellow, but for the destruc- 
tion of the novel, I could certainly have paid you 
what you lent me by the New Year. But now I 
ask you to wait another couple of months ; for I 
can't ask the Editor for a considerable sum until 
I have delivered Part II. But then I will pay you 
without fail. But my chief, but my most terrible 
obsession is the thought of what is happening to 
Pasha ? My heart bleeds and the thought of him, 
added to all my literary torments in December, drove 
me simply to despair ! What is he doing ? In 
November and in December I sent him no money ; 
but even before November he had left off writing 
to me. With the last allowance I made to him 
(60 roubles from Katkov), sent through you, I 
wrote him a long letter, and also asked him to 
make an inquiry, very important to me, and quite 
easy for him. I implored him to answer me. Not 
a single line from him. For the love of God, do 
give me some news of him. Does he hate me, 
does he ? What for, why ? Is it because I strained 
my resources to the very utmost to send him money 
and wait with burning impatience for the moment 
when I can send him more ? It is impossible that 
he should hate me. I put it all down not to his 
heart, but to his lightmindedness and to his in- 



28 DOSTOEVSKY 

capacity to make up his mind even to write a letter, 
just as he could not make up his mind to learn even 
the multiplication table till he was twenty. 

He lived in the same house with Emily Fiodor- 
ovna and got into debt in spite of the fact that 
up to November I was sending him quite enough. 
It was through you that I paid that debt to Emily 
Fiodorovna. But how were they all in November 
and December ? They themselves are in want. 
Fedya l works, but he can't keep them all, and I 
can't send any money for a month (through you, 
of course ; I implore you, my dear friend, it is to 
you that the money from Katkov will come. Don't 
disdain my request and don't be annoyed with 
them. They are poor. And I will be your servant 
all my life long, I will prove to you how much I 
value what you have done for me). To-morrow I 
shall write to Fedya. Are they still living in 
Alonkin's house ? I expressly asked Pasha to 
send me Alonkin's Christian name and his father's 
name (I forgot it) so that I could write to him. 
Alonkin trusts me, but he will turn them out of 
the flat, if he does not hear from me ; since I had 
made myself responsible to him for it. Neither 
from Pasha, nor from Emily Fiodorovna have I 
had an answer about the man's Christian name and 
his father's name. And how can I write a letter to 

1 Fiodor — Bon of Mihail Mihailovich, Dostoeveky's brother. 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 29 

Alonkin without that ? He is a merchant, he will 
be offended. 

But perhaps I may be able to send them money 
before ; although I am in awful need of money in 
expectation of my wife's confinement. Although 
we rub along without denying ourselves the prime 
necessities, yet our things are constantly being 
pawned. Every time I receive money I redeem 
them ; but towards the end of the month we pawn 
them again. Anna Gregorevna is my true helper 
and comforter. Her love to me is boundless ; 
although there is a great deal of difference in our 
characters. (She sends her best greetings to you 
and to Anna Ivanovna [Maikov's wife]. She loves 
you awfully because you value her mother, whom 
she adores. She values you both very highly, you 
and Anna Ivanovna, and esteems you deeply, with 
sincere, with the sincerest feeling.) 

Above all we have suffered real discomfort in 
Geneva from the cold. Oh if you only knew, what 
a stupid, dull, insignificant, savage people it is ! 
It is not enough to travel through as a tourist. No, 
try to live there for some time ! But I can't de- 
scribe to you now even briefly my impressions : I 
have accumulated too many. Bourgeois life in 
this vile republic has reached the nee plus ultra. 
In the administration, and all through the whole 
of Switzerland — there are parties and continuous 



30 DOSTOEVSKY 

squabbles, pauperism, terrible mediocrity in every- 
thing. A workman here is not worth the little 
finger of a workman of ours. It is ridiculous to 
see and to hear it all. The customs are savage ; 
oh, if you only knew what they consider good and 
bad here. Their inferiority of development : the 
drunkenness, the thieving, the paltry swindling, 
that have become the rule in their commerce ! 
Yet they have some good traits which after all 
place them immeasurably above the Germans. 
(In Germany I was above all struck by the stupidity 
of the people : they are infinitely stupid, they are 
immeasurably stupid.) Yet with us — even Nicolay 
Nicolayevich Strahov, 1 a man of high intellect, 
even he does not want to understand the truth : 
1 The Germans,' he says, ' have invented gun- 
powder.' But it is their life that settled it for 
them ! And we at that very time were forming 
ourselves into a great nation, we checked Asia for 
ever, we bore an infinity of sufferings, we managed 
to endure it all, we did not lose our Russian idea, 
which will renew the world, but we strengthened 
it ; finally, we endured the German, and yet after 
all our people is immeasurably higher, nobler, 
more honest, more naive, abler ; full of a different 
idea, the highest Christian idea, which is not even 
understood by Europe with her moribund Catholicism 

1 Dostoevsky's friend and biographer. 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 31 

and her stupidly self-contradictory Lutheranism. 
But I shan't go on about that ! But it is so diffi- 
cult for me to live without Russia, I have such a 
yearning for the country that I am positively 
wretched ! I read the Moscowskya Viedomosti and 
Golos, every number to the very last letter ! Good 
luck to the Golos for its new policy. I could say 
much, a great deal, to you, my friend ; and what 
a mass of things have accumulated ! But perhaps 
this year I shall embrace you. But I await your 
letters without fail. For the love of God, do write, 
my dear fellow. In my gloomy and tedious isola- 
tion — this is my sole comfort. Anna Gregorevna 
finds herself happy because she is with me. But I 
need you also, I need also my country. 

In Switzerland there are still enough forests, 
there are still on its mountains incomparably more 
forests than there are in other countries of Europe, 
although they are diminishing terribly with each 
year. And now imagine : five months in the year 
there is awful cold and bises (north winds breaking 
through the chain of the mountains). And for 
three months — almost the same winter as we have. 
Everybody shivers from the cold, they don't take 
off their flannels and cotton-wool (they have no 
public baths — imagine now the uncleanliness to 
which they are accustomed); they don't provide 
themselves with winter clothes, they run about 



32 DOSTOEVSKY 

almost in the same clothes as in the summer 
(and flannel alone is quite insufficient for such a 
winter), and with all this — not a grain of under- 
standing how to improve their houses ! Why, 
what use is a fireplace burning coal or wood, even 
if you were to keep it going all day long ? And to 
keep it going all the time costs two francs a day. 
And what a lot of wood is consumed ; — even then 
there 's no warmth. Why, if they had only double 
windows — then even with an open fireplace it 
might be tolerable ! I won't ask them to introduce 
stoves ; then all these forests could be saved. In 
twenty- five years' time nothing will be left of them. 
They live like veritable savages ! But still they 
can put up with things ! In my room, even when 
heated to the extreme, it is only 5° Centigrade 
(five degrees of warmth) ! I sat in my overcoat, 
and in that cold waited for money, pawned things 
and thought out the plan of the novel — isn't it 
pleasant ? They say that in Florence this winter 
there were nearly 10 degrees of cold. In Mont- 
pellier there were 15° Centigrade. In Geneva the 
cold did not rise higher than 8° ; but still it is just 
as bad, if the water in the room freezes. Now I 
have lately changed my rooms, and we have now 
two nice rooms, one always cold, the other warm. 
Since therefore it is constantly 10° or 11° in the 
warm room life is tolerable. I have written so 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 33 

much, but have not managed to say anything ! 
That is why I don't like letters. The chief thing — 
I am awaiting a letter from you. For the love of 
God write as soon as you can : a letter to me, in 
my present depression, will have almost the value 
of a good deed. Yes, I have forgotten to ask you : 
don't tell any one what I have written you about 
the novel, for the time being. I don't want it to 
reach the Russky Viestnik by any chance ; for I 
have told them a fib, having said that I had written 
a good deal in the rough and that I am now only 
reshaping and copying it. I shall manage to do 
it and — who knows ? — perhaps on the whole it will 
turn out not a bad novel. But again about the 
novel ; I tell you — I have gone mad about it. 

My health is very satisfactory. I have fits only 
very rarely, and now it is two and a half or three 
months on end since I had any. My sincerest 
greetings to your parents. — Remember me also to 
Strahov when you see him. And tell him to remem- 
ber me to Averkiev and Dolgomostiev, particu- 
larly to Dolgomostiev. Haven't you met him ? 

I embrace and kiss you. — Your true and loving 

F. Dostoevsky. 

My particular greetings to Anna Ivanovna. 
I have had a letter from Yanovsky. He is a very 
good man, at times wonderful. I love him deeply. 

с 



34 DOSTOEVSKY 



II 

To A. N. Maikov 

■ 

Geneva, February ШК 1Ш 
March, 1st 

My good, precious and only friend — (all these 
epithets are applicable to you and I am happy 
in applying them) — don't be cross because of my 
unconscionable silence. Judge me with the same 
understanding and the same heart as before. My 
silence was unconscionable ; but I almost literally 
could not answer you — although I did try several 
times. I have got stuck — my head and all my 
faculties — in Part II [of The Idiot], trying to 
complete it in time. I did not wish to spoil it 
definitely, — too much depends on its success. But 
now I don't want even success. I only want to 
avoid complete failure : in the subsequent parts 
I may still improve, for the novel is turning out a 
long one. I have at last sent off Part II also (I 
was too late, but I believe it will get there in time). 
What shall I tell you ? Myself I can't say any- 
thing. So much so, that I am incapable of any 
opinion. I like the finale of Part II, but it is only 
myself who likes it ; what will the readers say ? 
As to all the rest, it is just as in Part I, i.e. I think 
it flags rather. For me it would be quite enough 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 35 

if only the reader read it without great boredom, 
— I no longer claim any other success. 

My dear friend, you promised me immediately 
after reading Part I to write your opinion of it to 
me here. And now I haunt the post office every 
day, but there is no letter, and you have probably 
had the Russky Viestnik. I draw the clear con- 
clusion : the novel is weak, and since thanks to 
your delicacy you are too shy and sorry to tell me 
that truth to my face, you are postponing your 
reply. And I need just that truth ! I long for any 
opinion. Without it it is pure torture. True, you 
wrote me two letters before the review was out ; 
but it can't be that you, in such a matter, should 
be exacting about letters ! But enough of that. 
If you knew, my friend, with what happiness I 
re-read your last letter again and again ! If you 
only knew what my life here is like, and what the 
receipt of a letter from you means to me ! I see 
nobody here, I hear of nothing, and from the be- 
ginning of the New Year even the newspapers 
(Moscowskya Viedomosti and Golos) have not been 
arriving. Anna Gregorevna and I live all by our- 
selves ; but, although we live fairly harmoniously 
and love one another and besides are both busy, 
yet I, at least, am weary. Anna Gregorevna main- 
tains perfectly sincerely (I am convinced of it) 
that she is very happy. Imagine, up till now we 



86 DOSTOEVSKY 

have not yet been blessed, and the expected gentle- 
man has not yet come into the world. I expect 
him every day, because there are all the symptoms. 
I expected him yesterday, on my birthday ; he 
did not come. I await him to-day, but to-morrow 
he is sure to come. 

Anna Gregorevna is waiting reverently, loves the 
coming guest boundlessly, and bears up cheerfully 
and firmly ; but just recently her nerves have got 
on edge and at moments dark thoughts come to 
her : she is afraid she may die, etc. So that the 
situation is rather anxious and troublesome. Of 
money we have the very tiniest bit ; but at any 
rate we are not in distress, though expenses are on 
the way. Yet in that state Anna Gregorevna has 
written shorthand and copied for me, and has also 
managed to sew and to prepare everything that is 
needed for the baby. The worst of all is that 
Geneva is too bad ; a gloomy place. To-day is 
Sunday ; there is nothing gloomier and nastier 
than their Sunday. To move to another place now 
is impossible ; owing to my wife's illness we shall 
have to stay here for another five weeks, and then 
I am still in the dark as to money. The coming 
month will be a difficult one to me : my wife's 
illness, and Part III, which although it may be 
delayed, must be sent off regularly. And then 
comes Part IV ; only then can I think of leaving 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 37 

Geneva, towards May. It is a good thing that the 
winter here has become milder. The whole of 
February here was warm and bright, exactly as in 
Petersburg in April, on a bright day. 

I am always, incessantly, interested in every- 
thing you may write to me here. In the news- 
papers I am always looking for something of the 
same kind, as it were for a needle in a bundle of 
hay — reflecting and conjecturing. The abomina- 
tion and vileness of our literature and journalism 
I sense even here. And how naive all that trash 
is ! The Sovremennik and the others try their 
hardest with the same old Saltykovs and Eliseyevs 
— and the same old stale hatred for Russia, and the 
same old French Workers' Associations, and nothing 
but that. And Saltykov attacking the Zemstvo — 
all just as it should be. Our Liberals cannot help 
being at the one and same time inveterate enemies 
of Russia — conscious ones. Let anything succeed 
in Russia, let there be any profit for her — and their 
venom overflows. I have observed it a thousand 
times. Our extreme Radical party plays exactly 
the same game as the Viest [an extreme reactionary 
paper], nor can it be otherwise. And the cynicism 
and filthiness of all that riff-raff, — this I learn at 
times from the newspapers. 

The editorial office sent me No. 1 of the Russky 
Viestnik. I have read it from the first page to the 



88 DOSTOEVSKY 

last. There is nothing of yours there — you must 
have been either too late, or they keep you to adorn 
the February number — and in the January number 
there is Polonsky (a very fine poem), and Turgenev 
— with a very weak story [The History of Lieutenant 
Yergunov]. I read the review of Tolstoy's War and 
Peace. How much I should like to read it all. I 
have read only half. It must be a capital thing ; 
though it is a pity that there are so many small 
psychological details in it. There should be a wee 
bit less. Yet owing to those details what a lot of 
good there is in it ! — For the love of God, write me 
oftener about literary matters. You mentioned 
the Viestnik Europa (is it Stasyulevich's ?). It 
seems to me that we have quite enough reviews 
with those ideas. — Imagine : I know nothing about 
the Moskva, about the Moskvich. — Your Sophia 
Alexeyevna is a perfect beauty ; but a thought 
flashed across me : how fine it would be, if such a 
1 Sophia Alexeyevna ' could appear as an episode 
in a whole poem about those times, I mean, in a 
poem about the Raskolniki [a religious sect], or in a 
verse-novel about those times ! Has such a design 
never entered your head ? Such a poem would 
produce an enormous effect. Well now, well, what 
about your Slovo о Polku Igoreve — you do not say 
where it is going to be published ? In the Russky 
Viestnik, probably. In that case I shall read it! 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 89 

You can imagine with what impatience I await it. 
Apart from the reading which you have mentioned, 
— have you read it anywhere in public ? Tell me all 
about it. What did you read at the Krylov 
anniversary, apart from what you sent me ? I read 
about it in the papers ; but it is not clear. 

There seems to have been lately a kind of lull in 
Russia. I 've read lately only about the subscrip- 
tions for the famine-stricken. Slavdom and Slav 
aspirations must arouse a whole host of enemies 
among Russian Liberals. When will these obsolete 
and retrograde dregs be washed away ! For a 
Russian Liberal can't be considered as anything 
but as obsolete and retrograde. The so-called 
* educated society ' of old is a motley collection of 
everything that has separated itself from Russia, 
that has not understood Russia and has become 
Frenchified, — that is what a Russian Liberal is, 
and that is why he is a reactionary. Recall the 
best Liberals — recall Bielinsky : isn't he a conscious 
enemy of his fatherland, isn't he a reactionary ? 

Well, they can go to the devil ! Here I only 
meet filthy little Poles in the cafes, in huge crowds ; 
— but I enter into no relations whatsoever with them. 
With the priest here [A. K. Petrov] I am not ac- 
quainted. But when the child is born, I shall have 
to meet him. But remember, my friend, that our 
priests, I mean those abroad, are not all like the 



40 DOSTOEVSKY 

Wiesbaden one, of whom I spoke to you when I 
left Petersburg. (Have you met him ? He is a 
rare creature ; worthy, humble, with a sense of 
personal dignity, of an angelic purity of heart, and 
a passionate believer.) Well, God grant that the 
local one turns out a good one, although he must 
be spoilt by the aristocracy. Here, in Geneva 
(according to the Journal des Etrangers), there is 
a terrible number of Russian aristocrats ; it only 
makes it the stranger that they have been wintering 
not in Montreux, for instance, but in Geneva where 
the climate is not good. 

If I move anywhere, it will be to Italy ; but this 
is still in the future, and at any rate I shall let you 
know immediately so that there should be no delay 
about the address. And you, for the love of Christ, 
write to me — I can't say that my health is very 
good. Since the spring my fits have been more 
frequent. — I read your account of your having served 
on a jury, and my heart thrilled with excitement. 

Of our courts (from all that I have read) I have 
formed this opinion : The moral nature of our 
judges, and above all of our jurymen, is infinitely 
higher than the European ; and crime is regarded 
from a Christian point of view. Even Russian 
traitors abroad agree about this. But one thing 
has not yet been really settled ; in that humanity 
towards the criminal there still seems to me to be 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 41 



a great deal of the theoretical, Liberal, non-inde- 
pendent. It does appear now and then. But judg- 
ing at this distance I may be badly mistaken. At 
any rate in this respect our nature is infinitely 
higher than the European. And generally all our 
conceptions are more moral, and our Russian aims 
are higher than those of the European world. We 
have a more direct and noble belief in goodness, 
goodness as Christianity, and not as a bourgeois 
solution of the problem of comfort. A great re- 
newal is about to descend on the whole world, 
through Russian thought (which, you are quite 
right, is solidly welded with Orthodoxy), and this 
will be achieved in less than a hundred years, — 
this is my passionate belief. But in order that this 
great object may be achieved, it is essential that 
the political right and supremacy of the Great- 
Russian race over the whole Slav world should be 
definitively and incontestably consummated. (And 
our little Liberals preach the division of Russia 
into federal states !) 

I have again a most enormous favour to ask you, 
or rather two favours, and I hope for everything 
from your good heart and your brotherly sympathy 
to me. This is what it is about. I wrote to Katkov 
when I sent him Part II, asking him for 500 
roubles. It is terrible — but what can I do ? I 
can't help asking. At first I had these dreams : 



42 DOSTOEVSKY 

(1) To write the four parts (i.e. 28-24 folios), and 

(2) to write well, — and only then to approach 
Katkov with my great request. But I repeat — I 
can't help asking. Now, with Part II, I have 
sent to the office altogether 11 J folios, — it means 
approximately 1700 roubles. Altogether I owe 
them 4560 roubles (oh !), it means then I still owe 
them 2860 roubles, and in this state of affairs I am 
asking again for 500 roubles, i.e. raising my debt 
again to 2860 -{-500=3360 roubles. But there is 
this to keep in view that by May 1st I shall again 
deliver the equivalent of 1700, and therefore there 
will still remain a debt of about 1700 roubles. I 
worried terribly, when sending that request for 
500 roubles. If only the novel were good ! Then 
it would be more pardonable to ask. Will they 
send it me, or not, — I do not know. But however, 
in any case, I am telling you all about it and along 
with this come my two great requests. Request 
No. 1 : I asked Katkov, if he agreed to let me 
have the 500 roubles, to send me 300 roubles here, 
and 200 roubles to Petersburg, to you personally. 
And yet, in spite of the fact that you may perhaps 
receive these 200 roubles, I still remain a scoundrel 
towards you and can't pay you (who are certainly 
in need) not as much as a farthing ! Myself and 
Anna Gregorevna are so tormented by it that at 
times we speak of it at night ; but still my request 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 43 

is — wait a little longer and thereby you will save 
me from awful sufferings. And my sufferings con- 
sist in this — request No. 2, — that I can't even imagine 
without horror what is happening now to Emily 
Fiodorovna. She has her son Fedya ; but is it 
not cruel and is it not indecent on my part to rely 
and to throw all the burden of the family on this 
young man ? He is young and timid and ought not 
to be allowed to waste his young years and cer- 
tainly may lose patience, — and that leads to a wrong 
path. It might very, very easily lead there. I 
must help them : I am obliged to. Even if only a 
little. Besides them there is Pasha. There again 
it 's the same story : it is impossible for a young 
boy, a minor, to live by his own work, — it is im- 
possible, absurd, and indecent on my part. Cruel ! 
It means pushing him to perdition ; he won't stand 
the strain. To me it was that Marie Dmitrievna 
[Dostoevsky's first wife] bequeathed him, it was 
her last request. And therefore I implore you, in 
case you receive the 200 roubles, to do this : give 
one hundred roubles to Emily Fiodorovna, and one 
hundred to Pasha, but give Pasha at first only 
50 roubles (without telling him that you have 
another 50 roubles for him), and in two months' 
time give him the other 50 roubles. (Besides 
board and lodging, he must have a new supply of 
underwear, and clothes, he needs some other little 



44 DOSTOEVSKY 

things, in a word he must have 50 roubles at once.) 
Those 200 roubles, if Katkov agrees, you will 
receive in a fortnight, or if he is late it may take a 
month. I shall tell Pasha not to call on you too 
early. You wrote me that on the former occasion 
they worried you very much ; forgive them, my 
dear friend ! To Emily Fiodorovna deliver the 
money yourself, or let her know through Pasha 
that she is to call on you to receive it. All this, 
of course, if you receive the money ; I shall write to 
them. Well, that is my second request, I worry 
you extremely ; but, my friend, save me from these 
sufferings. 

To imagine their situation is such a pain to me 
that I would rather bear it myself. And to think 
that everything, my whole fate depends on the 
success of the novel ! Oh, it 's hard to be a poet 
in such conditions ! Now how different, for in- 
stance, are Turgenev's circumstances, and how 
dare he after that appear with his Yergunov I He 
himself literally told me that he was a German, 
and not a Russian, and he considered it an honour 
to reckon himself a German, and not a Russian, 
— this is the literal truth. 

Good-bye for the present, my friend. What 
more than anything else makes me glad on your 
account is that you do not allow your spirit to be 
idle. Desires, ideals, and aims are fermenting in 






LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 45 



you. That 's a great deal. In our time, if a man 
is seized with apathy, he is lost, dead, and buried. 
Good-bye, I embrace you closely and wish you all 
that is best. Write me, write me if only a few 
words about my novel. Even the tiniest thing. 

I constantly read all the political news. There 
is an infinitude of lies ; but I am terribly scared by 
the weakening and lowering of our foreign policy 
lately. Apart from this in Russia herself the 
Sovereign's reforms have many enemies. The only 
hope is in him. He has already proved his firmness. 
God grant he may rule long ! 

Anna Gregorevna greets you, Anna Ivanovna 
and Eugenia Petrovna. I also ; please remember 
me to them. I somehow believe a Misha or a Sonia 
is going to make his appearance to-day, — this has 
already been settled. 1 — Good-bye, my dear friend. 
Wholly your F. Dostoevsky. 

Ill 

To A. N. Maikov 

Geneva, ^ig"* 1868. 
20th February 

Now I 'm again writing you a few lines, my dear 
friend Apollon Nicolayevich, and again to make an 
extraordinary request. (Did you receive my letter 

1 Sophie or Sonia Dostoevsky was born 22nd February 1868. 



46 DOSTOEVSKY 

of yesterday in which I wrote to you that Katkov 
might perhaps send you in two or three weeks' 
time two hundred roubles ? I asked you most 
earnestly to help me and to divide that money 
(one hundred to Emily Fiodorovna, fifty to Pasha 
at once, and to keep the remaining fifty (also for 
Pasha), without telling him about it, and to hand 
it over to him after two months). Owing to an 
urgent cause and an important reason I must dis- 
pose of the money differently. Namely : hand over 
one hundred to Emily Fiodorovna, and fifty to 
Pasha now ; give the remaining fifty roubles, my 
dear friend, to Anna Nicolayevna Snitkin, Anna 
Gregorevna's mother. You may let her know 
through Pasha that she should call on you to get 
it. Or rather we ourselves will write to her, and 
she will call on you. When leaving Petersburg 
we pawned, I believe, all our movables, all our 
furniture, and all our things. For a whole year 
Anna Nicolayevna paid the interest (a very high 
one too) for us out of her pocket ; but now she 
herself has great expenses, and although she does not 
ask us for money to pay the interest and continues 
to pay it as before, — we must help her now and just 
at this moment. And Pasha, I will send to some- 
how, if I have money later, in two months' time. 

Don't disappoint me, my precious friend, don't 
disappoint me ; but do all these commissions which 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 47 

have a most vital importance for me, I earnestly 
entreat you. I shall try my best to prevent them 
all from worrying you much ; I will ask them. 
Good-bye for the present. I embrace you closely. 
— Wholly your F. Dostoevsky. 

P.S. — Last night I had a fit, so violent, that I 
have not recovered yet and I am aching all over ; 
in particular my head aches unbearably. 

P.S. — I am so distracted, everything is muddled 
up in my head because of the fit. I wrote a letter 
to Pasha, a most urgent one ; but, although he has 
given me his address, I am afraid to send it to him, 
because he may have moved again to new rooms, 
and I ask you to hand over the letter to him. My 
dear friend, Apollon Nicolayevich, forgive me for 
all this unconscionable trouble I am giving you ; 
but the letter to Pasha, which I enclose here, is so 
highly important to me and it deals with a question 
so affecting my heart and soul that nothing can be 
more important to me than its speedy delivery. 
Be my benefactor. You have only to send this 
letter to him through some one at the Address- 
Office. It is close to where you live and you will 
find it at once. — In any event, I also inscribe on 
the letter the address of Pasha's late rooms, which 
also are not far from your house. Be my bene- 
factor and deliver it to him immediately. 



48 DOSTOEVSKY 

IV 

To A. N. Maikov 

Geneva, March 1"S 1868. 

Most kind and true friend, Apollon Nicolayevich, 
I received your letter, thank you extremely. But 
I am in the most terrible agitation and anxiety ; 
for I have received a letter (from Anna Nicolayevna, 
my wife's mother) with strange news : that Pasha 
had called on her, ridden the high horse, said that 
1 he does not want to know whether I am in need, 
that I am obliged to keep him ' ; that since a good 
deal of money was expected from Katkov, he was 
going to Moscow, would see Katkov personally, 
would explain to him his position and ask him for 
money, on my account. Anna Nicolayevna posi- 
tively informs me that he has already left for 
Moscow (on the 5th February, old style), and that 
he has quarrelled with his chiefs and she is afraid of 
his being dismissed. 

Can you imagine now my situation ? What is 
my position in the eyes of Katkov ? Myself I 
blush for my affairs, and each time I am positively 
afraid to apply to Katkov because they have treated 
me so decently and well, and this ties my hands 
terribly. Without having yet seen a single line, 
they have trusted me to the extent of 500 roubles 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 49 

in advance (me, a sick man, abroad ; and, as ill- 
luck would have it, I have just asked for another 
500 roubles!). How terrible to think of Pasha 
coming and interrupting Katkov in his occupations, 
which are really enormous, and beginning to shout, 
and perhaps even to be insolent, and of course 
blackening my character as much as he can ! 
— Finally. Yesterday I pawned my last coat. I 
have thirty francs only, and forty to pay to the 
nurse ; I have to pay the midwife 100 francs, 
120 francs for the rooms and attendance due by 
March 20th, i.e. in six days' time (prices this month 
are higher), and 300 francs I owe for the things 
pawned. In six days at the latest my 30 francs 
will come to an end, and then — not a brass farthing, 
nothing to pawn, and my whole credit exhausted. 
My whole hope was that Katkov would agree to 
my request about the 500 roubles, would send you 
two hundred (as I had written), and would send me 
300 roubles here, and those 300 would come here 
by March 20th, that is, in six days' time. Now 
what shall I do if Pasha makes him angry and 
finally exhausts his patience (for any man may 
lose patience at last in certain circumstances), and 
he answers me with a refusal. Well, what shall I 
do then ? Then I am done for, absolutely done 
for, because my wife has now been confined and is 
ill. And at this moment I receive your letter. 

D 



50 DOSTOEVSKY 

■ 

The date is not put down ; but on the envelope is 
the mark of the Petersburg post office dated 
February 26th. 

In that letter you say not a single word about 
this. Then perhaps it is untrue. And yet Anna 
Nicolayevna asserts it positively. In that case, it 
is perhaps true ; but you are not aware of it (for 
it is indeed difficult for you to know, just for the 
reason that if he had made up his mind to do this, 
he certainly would have avoided meeting you). 
I sit now crushed and broken and do not know 
what to do. I had thought of writing to-day to 
Katkov and apologising to him, by explaining to 
him the whole circumstances ; for, firstly, as re- 
gards Katkov personally I feel so ashamed that I 
could sink into the ground, and secondly, as regards 
the money I am afraid that he may get cross and 
not send it. On the other hand, suppose I send 
the letter, and all this turns out untrue ? I had 
better make up my mind to write to-morrow and 
to send to-morrow (the letter to Katkov). If only 
some news would arrive to enlighten me ! But 
there is no news coming from anywhere ! But to 
wait is dangerous, and also difficult. At any rate 
I implore you, my dear friend : investigate this 
business and send me news immediately, or I shall 
die of anguish. But if it is not true, if Pasha only 
talked, but did not act, I mean, did not go to 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 51 

Moscow, did not speak to Katkov and did not even 
write to him (it is almost the same thing, writing 
and seeing him personally), — then please do not 
tell Pasha that I have learnt it from Anna Nicolay- 
evna. I am afraid he will be very rude to her. In 
a word, in any event, not a word to him about Anna 
Nicolayevna. I regard you as my Providence. 
I '11 send Katkov a letter after all ; I must. If 
Pasha is not to blame, — if he did not go to Katkov, 
certainly what I write won't do him any great 
harm : the prank of a young man who is not known 
there at all. For my own part I must tell you that 
I am sorry for Pasha ; I do not blame him very 
much : indeed, it 's a case of youth and lack of 
self-control. It must be excused, and he should 
not be treated harshly ; for, being such a little 
fool, it won't take him long to go to the dogs. 
And I imagined that he had grown sensible and 
realised that he was already nearly 21 years old, 
and ought to work, since there was no capital. 
I thought that having obtained employment he at 
last realised that honest work was his duty, just as 
it is the duty of every one, and that he must not 
act stubbornly and without listening to any one, 
as though he had made a vow to do nothing and 
would not stir. And he, as I see it now, imagined 
that he was doing me a favour by having secured 
employment. And who put it into his head that 



52 DOSTOEVSKY 

- 

I was obliged to keep him for ever, even after 21 ? 
His words to Anna Nicolayevna (which must cer- 
tainly be true) — ' I don't want to know whether 
he is himself in need ; he is obliged to keep me ■ 
— are too significant in a certain sense to me. This 
means that he does not love me. Certainly I am 
the last to blame him, and I know how little an 
impulse or an arrogant word may mean, that is, 
I know that a word is not an act. All my life long 
I will help him and I want to do so. But there 's 
the point : has he done much for himself ? It is 
only for the last three months that he has had no 
allowance from me. Yet during these three months 
he received from me 20 roubles in cash, and I paid 
his debt of 30 roubles to Emily Fiodorovna. And 
so, really what he has not received only amounts 
to one month's allowance ! And already he has 
managed to get into a fever about it ! It means, 
then, that the man must be incapable of doing 
anything for himself ! It is not a comforting 
thought. Out of my very last resources I am now 
sending money both to him and to Emily Fiodor- 
ovna. And yet I am convinced that at Emily 
Fiodorovna's they are running me down for all 
they are worth. And added to all this I am a sick 
man. What would happen if I were unable to 
work — what then ? 

My dear friend, you alone are my Providence and 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 58 

true friend ! Your letter of yesterday revived me. 
I have never had anything harder and more diffi- 
cult to bear in my life : on February 22nd (old 
style) — my wife (after awful pains lasting 30 hours) 
bore me a daughter and is still ill, and you can 
consequently imagine how my nerves are on edge. 
The least bit of unpleasant news has to be kept 
back from her ; for she loves me so much. Sonia, 
the baby, is a healthy, big, handsome, lovely, 
superb baby : positively half the day I kiss her 
and can't go away from her. This is good ; but 
what is bad is this : all the money I have is 30 
francs ; everything to the very last rag, mine and 
my wife's, has been pawned. My debts are urgent, 
pressing, immediate. My whole hope is in Katkov, 
and the incessant thought : suppose he does not 
send ? The exasperating news about Pasha ; my 
terrible and continuous fear which does not allow 
me to sleep at night : what if Anya falls ill ? 
(To-day is the tenth day.) And I have no means of 
calling in a doctor or of buying medicine ; Part III 
of the novel, which is not yet begun, which I under- 
took on my word of honour to deliver to the Editor 
by the first of April (old style) ; the whole plan of 
Parts III and IV radically altered last night, for 
the third time (and therefore, at least, another 
three days needed for the thinking out of the new 
arrangement) ; the increased strain on my nerves 



54 DOSTOEVSKY 

and the number and violence of my fits, — there you 
have my condition ! 

In addition to all this, — up to the coming of your 
letter, — complete despair on account of the failure 
and badness of my novel, and consequently, with- 
out mentioning my anguish as an author, — the 
conviction that all hopes have vanished, for all my 
hopes were fixed on the novel ! Imagine, then, how 
your letter gladdened me ; am I not right now in 
calling you my Providence ? Indeed in my present 
circumstances you are just the same to me, as my 
dead brother Misha was. 

And so you gladden me with the news of my 
success. It gives me new heart. Part III I shall 
complete and send off by April 1st. Haven't I 
written as much as 11| folios in two months ! I 
implore you, my dear friend, when you have read 
the finale of Part II (i.e. in the February number), 
write me immediately. Believe me, your words to 
me are a well-spring of living water. I was inspired 
when I wrote that finale and it cost me two fits 
one after another. But I may have exaggerated 
and lost my sense of proportion, and therefore I 
await your impartial criticism. Oh, my dear friend, 
do not condemn me for this anxiety, as if it were 
the anguish of ambition. Ambition, of course, 
there is, could one do without it ? — But here my 
chief motives, I call God to witness, are different. 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 55 

In the case of this novel too much is at stake, in 
every way. 

Your letters always stimulate me and for several 
days on end act as leaven on everything in me. I 
should awfully like to have a talk with you about 
certain things. This time I have confined myself 
to family trifles ; wait till next time. Surely it is 
the same Danilevsky, the late Fourierist, who was 
mixed up in our affair ? Yes, he has a strong head. 
But in the Journal of the Ministry of Education ! It 
has a small circulation, it is little read. Can't it 
be pubUshed separately ? Oh, how much I should 
like to read it ! . . . 

Write me about yourself as much as you can. 
My greetings to all yours. My wife loves you 
deeply and sends her greetings to Anna Ivanovna. 
She is in ecstasies over her work, and I too. As 
regards The Idiot, I am so much afraid, so much 
afraid, — that you can't even imagine my fear. A 
kind of unnatural fear even ; which has never beset 
me before ! . . . What depressing, trifling letters I 
am writing you ! I embrace you closely. — Wholly 
your F. Dostoevsky. 

Anyhow I shall write more often now. 

Anya burst into tears when she read in your letter 
about the success of The Idiot. She says that she 
is proud of me. 



56 DOSTOEVSKY 



To A. N. Maikov 

~ March 20th no ._ 

° ENEVA > April 2nd 1868 ' 

Kindest and good friend, Apollon Nicolayevich, 
first of all I thank you, my dear friend, most deeply 
for the execution of all my commissions which have 
turned out so troublesome, and in doing which you 
have had to run about so much. Forgive me for 
worrying you ; but indeed you are the only man 
on whom I can rely (which is no excuse at all for 
worrying you). Secondly — I thank you for your 
greetings, congratulations, and wishes of happiness 
for us three. You are right, my good friend, you 
have described from nature the feeling of being a 
father, and you have taken your beautiful words 
from nature : all is perfectly true. I have had, 
now almost for a month, feelings utterly new and 
hitherto completely unknown to me ; from the 
moment when I saw my Sonia for the first time up 
to this minute when we have just been washing her, 
by our common efforts, in the tub. Yes, an angelic 
soul has flown into our house too. But I shall not 
describe to you my sensations. They grow and 
develop with each day. Now, my dear friend : 
last time when I wrote to you in such anxiety, I 
forgot (!) to tell you that as far back as last year 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 57 

in Dresden, Any a and I had agreed (and she scolded 
me terribly for having forgotten to tell you) that 
you are to be Sonia's godfather. My dear friend, 
don't refuse ! It is now nearly ten months since 
we decided on it. If you refuse, it will bring Sonia 
unhappiness : the first godfather and he refused ! 
But you will not refuse, dear friend. I add, that 
this will not cause you the least possible trouble ; 
and as to our becoming related by compaternity 
— so much the better. The godmother is Anna 
Nicolayevna. Did she tell you ? For the love of 
God let me know your answer as soon as possible 
— for it is needed for the christening. It is now 
nearly a month, and she is not yet christened ! 
(Could it be like that in Russia ?) And your god- 
daughter (I am sure she is your goddaughter) — I 
inform you — is very good-looking in spite of the 
fact that she takes after me impossibly, even 
ridiculously — to the verge of strangeness even. 
I would not believe it if I did not see it myself. 
The baby is only about a month old ; but she has 
perfectly my expression of face, my complete 
physiognomy, — up to the wrinkles on her forehead, 
— she lies in her cot as though she were composing 
a novel ! I don't speak about the features. Her 
forehead is like mine, even strangely so. It should 
of course follow that she is not very good-looking 
(for I am a beauty only in the eyes of Anna Gregor- 



58 DOSTOEVSKY 

evna — and seriously a beauty to her, I tell you !). 
But you, an artist yourself, know excellently well 
that it is possible to look exactly like a plain 
person, and yet to be very lovely. Anna Gregorevna 
is extremely keen on your being godfather. She 
loves you and Anna Ivanovna very much and 
respects you boundlessly. 

You are too much of a prophet : you prophesy 
that now that I have new cares I shall become an 
egoist, and this, unfortunately (since anything else 
was impossible), has come true. Imagine : all 
this month I have not written a single line ! My 
God, how am I treating Katkov, my promises, my 
words of honour, my obligations ! I was incredibly 
glad when, because of my confession that I might 
be late in view of my wife's confinement, the 
Russky Viestnik announced at the end of Part I 
of my novel, that the continuation would follow 
in the April, not in the March number. But, alas ! 
even for getting it ready for the April number 
only twenty days remain now (I am awfully be- 
hind !), and not a single line is written. To-morrow 
I am writing to Katkov to apologise, — but they 
can't make a fur coat out of my promises. And yet 
I must manage to have it ready for the April 
number, although the time is so short. And mean- 
while, apart from all the rest, all my existence (as 
regards money) depends on them. In truth a 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 59 

desperate position ! But what can I do : the whole 
month has passed in extraordinary fears, troubles 
and anxieties. And I have not slept for whole 
nights on end, not only on account of moral 
anxieties, but because I could not help myself. 
And with epilepsy it is awful. My nerves are upset 
now to the last degree. March here was disgust- 
ingly bad, — with snow and frost, almost as bad as 
in Petersburg. Anna Gregorevna was terribly 
upset physically (don't for the world tell Anna 
Nicolayevna, for she will imagine God knows what. 
Simply that Anya could not recover for a long time, 
and added to this, she nurses the child herself). 
She has little milk. We also use the bottle. Still 
the baby is very healthy (touch wood !). And 
Anya is beginning to go out for walks. It is now 
the third day of wonderful sunny weather and the 
first shoots of green. I can hardly recover yet 
from all this. Then there 's the awful trouble, 
— money. They have sent us 300 roubles. This, 
owing to the exchange, is 1025 francs. But we have 
almost nothing left. Expenses have increased, we 
had to pay our former debts, to redeem the pawned 
things, and exactly three weeks from now great 
expenses are imminent on account of our having 
to move into other rooms (they are turning us out 
of these because of the baby's crying), and, besides, 
certain payments must be made, — terrible! And 



60 DOSTOEVSKY 

we have also, beginning from to-day, to exist for 
at least two months before we can hope to receive 
any more money from the Russky Viestnik. But I 
can get nothing from the R.V. until I have de- 
livered Part II, and when am I going to write it ? 
Again perhaps in 18 days, the time it took me 
to write the instalment published in the January 
number ? Your disposition of the money was 
very good. And though it is too bad of me to 
trouble you, do send me the remaining 25 roubles 
here, to Geneva, if possible at once. The last ex- 
treme of need ! (N.B. — Simply put a 25-rouble 
note in a letter, register it, so that it shall not be 
lost, and send it to my address.) 

I am very glad that you handed over to Pasha 
50, and not 25 roubles. That is good. I am 
awfully glad that he has got employment. My 
dear friend, look him up, if only now and then ! 
When I write to him, I shall tell him that, having 
learnt from you that you have given him 25 roubles 
on credit, I have already repaid you. But I want 
to know this : isn't Pasha going to write me any- 
thing and congratulate me about Sonia ? Others 
have congratulated me : you, Strahov, the Moscow 
people, Petersburg friends of Anna Gregorevna ; 
but Pasha — not only have I received nothing from 
him lately, but I have had no reply to the letter 
I sent him about six weeks ago, addressed to you 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 61 

(did you receive it ? Somehow you did not mention 
it). On this point, extremely important : After 
all I do not know whether he was in Moscow or 
not ? Did he go to Katkov ? It is very important 
for me to know. Remember, I sent Katkov a long 
letter of apology, solely on that account ! I must 
know. Can't you get to know the truth about it, 
my dear friend, for the love of Christ ! . . . (Emily 
Fiodorovna I have officially, solemnly notified that 
a daughter has been born to me ; but nothing, no 
reply from her !) Moreover, on the previous 
occasion, she sent me no answer to my extremely 
important question about their flat and Alonkin 
the landlord. It surprises even me. Indeed it is 
quite disgustingly rude ! 

As regards my will and all your other advice, I 
have always been of exactly the same opinion 
myself. But, my friend, my sincere and devoted 
friend (perhaps my only one !), — why do you con- 
sider me so good and generous ? No, my friend, 
no, I am not so good as all that, and this troubles 
me. And Pasha — poor Marie Dmitrievna gave him 
into my charge on her deathbed ! How could I 
desert him ? (You yourself didn't advise it.) No, 
no, I must help him, moreover, I love him sincerely ; 
indeed for over ten years I brought him up in my 
house ! He is like a son to me. We lived together. 
And to leave him to his own resources so young, 



62 DOSTOEVSKY 

and alone, — how can I possibly do it ? After all, 
however poor I may be, help him I must. True, 
he is a great lazybones ; but in truth I myself, 
at his age, was perhaps even worse (I remember 
it). Now he should be supported. To leave a 
good and pleasant impression on his heart now will 
help him in his later development. And that he is 
now employed and works for himself, — I am awfully, 
awfully glad of it, — let him do some work. And 
you I embrace and kiss as a brother for having 
gone to Rasin and secured the post for him there. 
... As for Emily Fiodorovna, there again my dead 
brother Misha is concerned. And indeed you do 
not know what he was to me — all my life, from my 
first conscious moments ! No, you don't know ! 
Fedya is my godson, moreover he is a young man, 
who is earning his bread by hard work. And in 
his case, if only it is possible, I must help at times 
(for he is a young man ; everything ought not to 
be thrown on his shoulders, — it is too hard). And 
yourself, my dear friend, why do you make your- 
self out to be so practical and egotistical : didn't 
you lend me 200 roubles and didn't you lose nearly 
2000 roubles by my brother Misha's death and the 
failure of the review ! Yet I should not have 
broached these subjects. At any rate, I consider 
your advice perfectly correct. — And as for myself, 
there 's a very appropriate proverb : ' Don't boast 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 63 

when going to war.' And I say this because I 
have been harping on my obligation to help and so 
on. And how can I tell what is going to happen 
to myself? 

However ugly, however beastly living abroad 
has become to me, do you know that at times I 
think with fear of what will happen to my health 
when it pleases God to permit me to return to 
Petersburg ? If my fits occur here so often, — what 
would it be like there ? I am positively losing my 
mental faculties, for instance, my memory. . . . 
All that you write about Russia, and especially 
your mood (rose-coloured), makes me very happy. 
It is perfectly true that it is not worth while 
paying attention to various particular cases : it is 
only the whole that should be considered, its 
impetus and aim, and all the rest is bound to come 
as part of the tremendous regeneration which is 
taking place under the present great Sovereign. 
My friend, you really look at things exactly as I 
do, and you have at last expressed what I was say- 
ing, saying aloud three years ago, at the time I was 
editing the review ; but it was not understood, 
namely : that our constitution is the mutual love 
of the Monarch for the people and of the people for 
the Monarch. This principle of the Russian State, 
the principle of love not of strife (which I believe 
was first discovered by the Slavophils), is the greatest 



1 



64 DOSTOEVSKY 

of all ideas, an idea on which much will be built. 
This idea we shall proclaim to Europe, which does 
not understand anything at all about it. Our 
wretched, uprooted tribe of clever ones, alas ! 
was sure to end like that. They will die like that, 
they can't be reborn. (Take Turgenev, now!) 
But the newest generation — it is there we have to 
look. (Classical education might be of great 
assistance. What is Katkov's Lyceum ?) While 
here abroad, with regard to Russia I have finally 
become sTconiple'te moliarcmst. If any one has 
(lone anything in Russia, it is obviously the Tsar 
alone. (But not on this account only, but simply 
because he is the Tsar, beloved by the Russian 
people, beloved for himself and because he is the 
Tsar. With us the people have given and give 
their love to every Tsar, and only in him do 
they finally believe. To the people it is a mystery, 
a priesthood, an anointment.) Our Westerners 
understand nothing about this ; they pride them- 
selves on basing themselves on facts, and they 
overlook the primary, the greatest fact of our 
history. I like your idea of the pan-Slav signifi- 
cance of Peter the Great. It is the first I have 
heard of this idea and it is a perfectly true one. 
But there : I read the Golos here. Terribly dis- 
tressing facts are at times described in it. For 
instance, about the chaotic state of our railways 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 65 

(the newly constructed ones), about affairs in the 
Zemstvos, about the awful condition of the colonies. 
The dreadful misfortune is that we still have so 
few men of executive capacity. Talkers there are, 
but men who do things — you can count them on 
your fingers. Of course I 'm not referring to ad- 
ministrators in high positions, but simply to officials 
of all kinds in general, a whole host of whom is 
needed, and who are not there. For the courts, 
for the juries, perhaps there are plenty of men. 
But what about the railways ? And the other 
public services ? It is a terrible conflict of new 
men and new demands with the old order. I do 
not speak of inspiring them with an idea : free- 
thinkers we have in plenty, but Russian men are 
but few. The chief thing — the self-realisation of 
the Russian man in oneself — that is what is needed. 
And how greatly publicity helps the Tsar and 
all Russians, — even the hostile publicity of the 
Westerners. I long for us to have political 
railways soon (the Smolensk-Kiev railway : as 
soon as possible), and also new guns as soon as 
possible ! Why is Napoleon increasing his army, 
and thus running the risk of making himself un- 
popular with his people, at such a critical moment ? 
The devil knows why. But it won't end well for 
Europe. (I 'm deeply convinced of this somehow.) 
Awkward, if we get mixed up in it. If they would 

E 



66 DOSTOEVSKY 

only wait a couple of years. Nor is it Napoleon 
alone. Apart from Napoleon the future is threaten- 
ing, and we must be prepared for it. Turkey is on 
its last legs ; Austria is in much too abnormal a 
state (I only analyse the elements, but form no 
judgment) ; there is the damned problem of the 
proletariat, in its acute stage, in the West (which 
is not even mentioned in the politics of the day !), 
and, lastly, chiefly, Napoleon is an old man in 
indifferent health. He won't live long. As long 
as he lives he will be involved in more failures, and 
the Buonapartes will become still more loathsome 
to the French, — what will happen then ? For this 
contingency Russia must prepare herself without 
fail and without delay ; for it may come to pass 
very soon. 

How glad I am that the Heir Apparent has 
revealed himself to Russia in such a good and 
noble manner, and that Russia testifies her hopes 
in him and her love for him, as to a Father. God 
grant that our Alexander live happily for another 
forty years. He alone has done for Russia almost 
more than all his predecessors taken together. 
And the most important thing is that he is so much 
loved. This is now the mainstay of the whole 
Russian movement ; on it alone all regeneration 
is based. Oh, my friend, how I should love to 
come back, how sickening my life is here ! A bad 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 67 

life. And, above all, my work does not go right. 
If only I could finish the novel satisfactorily, how 
good it would be ! This is the beginning of my 
whole future. Anna Gregorevna does not feel 
homesick, and sincerely says she is happy ; but I 
am nauseated. I go nowhere and see no one. 
And even if I had acquaintances I don't think I 
should go to them, I have completely lost my bear- 
ings, — and yet my work does not come off. At five 
o'clock every day I leave the house for two hours 
and go to the cafe to read Russian newspapers ! 
I know no one here, and I 'm glad of it. It is horrible 
to meet our clever ones. Poor ! Insignificant ! 
Rubbish, puffed up with self-love ! Sh . . . ! Loath- 
some ! By chance I met Herzen in the street ; 
we talked for ten minutes in a hostile-polite tone, 
mockingly, and then parted. No, I shan't go. 
Нолу far behind the times, how terribly backward 
they are, and they understand nothing ! And 
puffed up, how terribly puffed up they are ! 
I read here greedily the announcements in the 
papers about the appearance of the numbers of 
the reviews and the lists of contents. How strange 
are the titles and lists of contents of publications 
like the Otechestvennya Zapiski ! Yes, rags instead 
of flags, that is true ! My dear friend, don't give 
them anything, wait. And the question as to where 
to publish your things seems to worry you. Don't 



68 DOSTOEVSKY 

be worried, my friend. I am writing hastily now, 
or I would have a good talk with you. I have an 
idea for you ; but its exposition would require a 
whole letter, and now I have no time. I will write 
soon. This idea I conceived apropos your * Sophia 
Alexeyevna.' And believe me, it is serious, do not 
laugh ! I will expound it to you. It is neither 
novel nor poem. But it is so deeply needed, it is 
so necessary, and so original and new and of such 
an urgent, Russian tendency, that you yourself 
will be surprised ! I shall expound the programme 
to you. It is a pity I must do it in a letter and 
not do it in friendly talk. Through it you might 
become famous, and it is important that you should 
bring it out as a book, after having previously 
published a few fragments. The book should sell 
enormously. — So you have finished your trans- 
lation of the Apocalypse ? And I thought you had 
given it up. Certainly it cannot possibly escape 
the ecclesiastical censorship, not possibly ; but if 
you have translated perfectly accurately, then of 
course it will pass. I received a letter from Strahov. 
It made me happy. I want to answer him as soon 
as possible ; but as he did not give his address 
(he forgot !) I shall answer him through you. And 
I shall ask you to let him have the letter. 

My dear friend, do write to me more frequently. 
You can't believe what your letters mean to me ! 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 69 

To-day is already the third of April of the new style, 
and the 25th is the last day (absolutely the last) 
for the delivery of the novel, and / have not a line, 
not a single line written ! Lord, what shall I do ? 
Well, good-bye, I kiss and embrace you. Anya 
greets you, and we both greet Anna Ivanovna. 
— Wholly your F. Dostoevsky. 

P.S. — For the love of God, tell me everything 
you hear (if only you do hear) about The Idiot. I 
must, must, must know without fail ! For the love 
of God ! The finale of Part II — about which I 
wrote to you — is the same as that published at the 
end of Part I. And I relied on it so much ! Though 
I still believe in the perfect fidelity of the character 
of Nastasya Filipovna. By the way, many little 
things at the end of Part I are taken from life, and 
certain characters are simply portraits, — for in- 
stance, General Ivolgin and Kolya. But perhaps 
your opinion is quite true. 

VI 

To A. N. Maikov 

Florence, May~^, 1869. 
2i(th 

What a long, long time I have refrained from 
replying to your good sincere words, my good and 
only friend ! But you are right; for of all those 



70 DOSTOEVSKY 

whom I have happened to meet and to live with 
for the last forty-eight years, you and you alone 
I consider as a man after my heart. Of all those I 
have met, during all these forty-eight years, I have 
hardly one, hardly a single one like you (I do not 
speak of my dead brother). You and I, although 
we do not mix in the same society, yet in heart, in 
soul, in our cherished convictions and in our 
cordial intercourse, are almost chums. Even our 
intellectual conclusions and those derived from our 
experience have of late begun to be strangely 
similar, and I think the ardour of our hearts is the 
same. Judge, for instance, from this fact, my dear 
friend. Do you remember last year, I believe it 
was in the summer and I believe exactly a year 
ago (as far as I remember, before the summer 
holidays), I wrote you a letter (to which I received 
no answer from you for three or four months ; at 
that point our correspondence was interrupted, 
and when it started again in the autumn, we began 
to write about completely different things and forgot 
where we had stopped in the summer). Well, in 
that letter, at the end, I wrote you, full of serious 
and profound rapture, of a new idea that had 
occurred to me, strictly for you, for your use. 
(The idea occurred by itself, as something inde- 
pendent and as a complete whole ; but as I could 
not possibly regard myself as the person who ought 






LETTEIIS TO A. N. MAIKOV 71 

to realise that idea, I naturally destined it, or 
wished to destine it for you. So perhaps it was 
born in me for you, indeed, as I have already said, 
or rather indissolubly connected with your image, 
as a poet.) If you had answered me immediately 
then, in the summer, I would have sent you a com- 
prehensive explanation of the idea, with full de- 
tails ; I had then thought out what to write to you 
to the last line. But I think it is as well that 
you did not reply then. Judge : my idea con- 
sisted then in this (I '11 say only a few words about 
it now) that a series of legends, ballads, songs, 
little poems, romances — call them what you like 
— might be composed in attractive, fascinating 
verses, in such verses as can be learnt by heart 
without the least effort, — which is always the case 
with profound and beautiful verses ; here the 
essence and even the metre depend on the soul of 
the poet, and they come suddenly, completely 
ready in his soul, even independently of himself. 
... I 'II make a long digression : a poem, in my 
view, makes its appearance like a virgin precious 
stone, a diamond, completely ready in the poet's 
soul, in all its essence ; and that is the first act of 
the poet, as creator and maker ; the first part of 
his creation. If you like, it is not even he who 
is the creator, but life, the mighty essence of life, 
the God living and real, concentrating his power 



72 DOSTOEVSKY 

in the diversity of creation here and there, and most 
often in the great heart and in the great poet, so 
that if the poet himself is not the creator (and one 
ought to agree that he is not, especially you, a 
master and poet yourself; for indeed the creation 
comes suddenly out of the poet's soul far too com- 
pletely, far too definitely, far too finished) — well, 
if the poet himself is not the creator, then at any 
rate his soul is that very same mine, which begets 
diamonds and without which they cannot be found 
anywhere. Then follows the poet's second act less 
profound and mysterious, but that in which the 
poet is concerned as artist, — the business of cutting 
and polishing the diamond which he has obtained. 
Here the poet is almost a jeweller. Now, in this 
series of legends in verse (in thinking of those 
legends I thought at times of your poem, Clermont 
Cathedral) should be depicted from the very outset 
— with love and with our thought, — and with a 
Russian conception, — the whole of Russian history, 
those moments and points being distinguished in 
which at certain times and in certain places it as 
it were concentrated itself and manifested itself, 
all of it, suddenly, in its complete wholeness. Such 
all-revealing moments can be found, throughout 
the ages, ten at least, perhaps even rather more. 
Well now, to seize those points and to tell them in 
a legend, to all and sundry, but not as a simple 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 73 

chronicle, no, but as a sincere poem, even without 
strict adherence to the facts (but with extraordinary 
clarity) ; to seize the chief point and to relate it 
so that men can see out of what idea the poem was 
begotten, with what love and pain it was brought to 
light. But without egoism, without words from one- 
self, but naively, as naively as possible, with love for 
Russia streaming forth as from a living spring, 
— and nothing else. Imagine to yourself that in the 
third or fourth legend (I composed them all in my 
mind then and went on composing them long after- 
wards) I took the capture of Constantinople by 
Mahomet II (and this came directly and involun- 
tarily as a legend from Russian history, by itself 
and without design ; afterwards I wondered, at 
the way — without hesitation, reflection, or con- 
scious thought — it had occurred to me to connect 
the capture of Constantinople with Russian history, 
without the faintest doubt). To relate all that 
catastrophe in a naive and concise account ! The 
Turks closely investing Tsargrad (Constantinople) ; 
the last night before the assault at dawn ; the last 
Emperor walking in the Palace. . . . 

(' The King pacing with long strides.') 
The prayer before the image of Our Lady ; the 
prayer ; the assault ; the fight ; the Sultan with 
a bloody sword entering Constantinople. At the 
Sultan's command the body of the last Emperor 



74 DOSTOEVSKY 

searched for and found among a heap of the slain ; 
and recognised by the eagles embroidered on his 
boots ; Saint Sophia, the trembling Patriarch, the 
last Mass, the Sultan on his horse dashing up the 
stairs into the middle of the Church (historique). 
Having reached the middle he stops his horse in 
confusion, looks round musingly, anxiously, and 
utters the words : ' Here is the house of prayer for 
Allah ! ' Whereupon the ikons and the Communion 
table are thrown out, the altar is destroyed, a 
mosque is erected, the corpse of the Emperor is 
buried ; and the last of the Palaeologi appears in 
the Kingdom of Russia with a double-headed eagle 
for her dowry ; the Russian wedding ; Ivan III in 
his wooden hut, instead of a palace, and into this 
wooden hut passes the great ideal of the pan- 
Orthodox significance of Russia, and there is laid 
the first stone of the future hegemony of the East ; 
there the circle of Russia's future destinies is ex- 
tended ; there is laid down the idea not only of a 
great state, but of a whole new world, which is 
destined to renew Christianity by the pan-Slav, 
pan-Orthodox idea and to introduce a new idea to 
mankind. Then comes the disintegration of the 
West, a disintegration which will occur when the 
Pope distorts Christ finally and thereby begets 
atheism in the defiled humanity of the West. 
Nor is this idea concerned with that epoch alone ; 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 75 

I had another idea, along with the picture of the 
wooden hut and of the wise Prince — cherishing a 
grand and profound ideal, of the Metropolitan, in 
poor clothes, sitting with the Prince, and of ' Fomin- 
ishna,' gladly settled in Russia. — Suddenly, in 
another ballad, we pass to a description of the end 
of the 15th and of the beginning of the 16th century 
in Europe, Italy, the Papacy, art in the churches 
and Raphael, the worship of Apollo Belvedere, the 
first rumours of the Reformation, of Luther, 
America, gold, Spain and England, — a whole vivid 
picture, parallel to all the preceding Russian pic- 
tures, — but with hints of the future of that picture, 
of future science, of atheism, of the rights of man. 
realised in the Western way, and not in ours, — all 
which serve as the source of all that is and will be. 
In my ardent musings I also thought that the 
legend ought not to end with Peter the Great, for 
instance, on whom a specially fine utterance and 
fine poem is needed, — a legend based on a bold and 
frank point of view, on our point of view. I would 
go as far as Biron and Katherine and even further, 
— I would go as far as the liberation of the peasants 
and up to the wanderings of the aristocrats all over 
Europe with their last paper rouble notes, and their 
ladies copulating with the Borghesans, up to the 
preaching of atheism by seminary students, up to 
the appearance of omni-human citizens of the world, 



76 DOSTOEVSKY 

up to the Russian Counts who write criticisms and 
stories, etc. etc. The Poles would have to occupy 
much space. Then I would finish with imaginary 
pictures of the future : of Russia after two cen- 
turies, and alongside with her — of the eclipsed, 
lacerated, and brutalised Europe, with her civilisa- 
tion. Here I would not stop at any imagination. . . . 
You consider me at this moment certainly mad, 
strictly and chiefly because I have written so much ; 
for all this ought to be spoken of personally and not 
written about. For in a letter one can't say any- 
thing intelligibly. But I have become excited. 
You see, when I read in your letter that you were 
writing those ballads, I was struck with wonder : 
I wondered how it is that to us, separated for so 
long, the same idea, of the same poem, has occurred ? 
I was made happy by this and then I began to think : 
Do we understand this properly, in the same way ? 
You see, my idea is that the ballads could become 
a great national work and would contribute 
mightily to the regeneration of the consciousness 
of the Russian. Why, Apollon Nicolayevich, every 
schoolboy will know and learn these poems by heart. 
But having learnt a poem, he will also learn the idea 
and attitude, and as this attitude is true, it will 
abide in his soul all his life long. Since the verses 
and poems are comparatively short, the whole 
reading world of Russia will read them, as they 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 77 

read your Clermont Cathedral, which even now many- 
know by heart. And therefore — it is not only a 
poem and a literary work, — it is science, it is preach- 
ing, it is an heroic act. When last year I wanted 
to write to you and urge you to set to work on that 
idea, I thought to myself : How shall I tell it him 
so that he will understand me completely ? — And 
suddenly, a year later, you yourself become inspired 
with the same idea and find it necessary to write it ! 
It means, then, the idea is true ! But one thing, 
one thing is needed, without fail : the poems must 
have an extraordinary poetic charm, they must 
carry the reader away, carry him away without fail, 
carry him away to the point of being involuntarily 
learnt by heart. My friend ! remember, that per- 
haps all your poetical career up till now was only a 
preface, only an introduction, and that only now you 
will have the power to utter the new word, your new 
word ! And therefore look at the matter more 
seriously, more deeply, and with more enthusiasm. 
And above all, — simplicity and naivete ! And re- 
member this too : write in rhymes, and not in the 
old Russian metre. Do not laugh ! It is important. 
Rhyme now is simplicity, and the old Russian metre is 
academism. Not a single poem in unrhymed verse 
is learnt by heart. The people no longer compose 
songs in the old metre, but compose in rhymes. If 
there are to be no rhymes (and no ballad metre), 



78 DOSTOEVSKY 

—really you '11 ruin the thing. You may laugh at 
me ; but I tell you the truth ! The crude truth ! 

About Yermak [the conqueror of Siberia] I can't 
say anything ; you certainly know better than I. 
In my notion, there is at first the Cossack dare- 
devilry, vagabondage and brigandage. Then is 
shown the man-genius under a sheep-skin coat ; he 
divines the magnitude of his work and its future 
significance ; but only when his whole work has 
made a favourable start and is running smoothly. 
There is born a Russian feeling, an orthodox feeling 
of being one with the Russian root (and it may even 
be a direct feeling, something of a nostalgia), and 
thence comes his embassy and homage to the great 
Russian King who completely expresses, in the 
popular conception, the Russian people. (N.B. — The 
chief and completest expression of that conception 
reached its full, ultimate development, do you know 
when, to my thinking ? In our century. Certainly 
I am speaking of the people, and not of putrefied 
seminarists and aristocrats.) 

But enough of this now. I only believe this : 
that you and I agree in ideas, and I am glad of it. 
Please send me something of what you have written, 
and if possible, send me a good deal. I shall not 
misuse it. You yourself can see that it interests 
me to the point of agitation. 

You will ask : why didn't I write to you for so 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 79 

long ? But I have been silent for so long, that I find 
it difficult even to answer the question. Chiefly — 
nostalgia ; but were I to speak and to explain 
further, then there would be a great deal to tell. 
But my nostalgia is such, that if I were by myself, 
I should fall ill of anguish. It is a good thing that 
I am with Anna Gregorevna, who as you know is 
again expecting to be confined. These expectations 
agitate us both. (We have Anna Gregorevna's 
mother staying with us now, and in Anna's present 
state this is necessary.) It was a great disappoint- 
ment to me to have to remain in Florence, when a 
month ago we had decided to move to Dresden. 
All this happened for lack of money. It ended in 
my promising a story (it will be a very short one x ) 
to the Zarya. My dear Nicolay Nicolayevich 
[Strahov] (who is perhaps cross with me now) 
arranged that affair (he gave 125 roubles to Marie 
Gregorevna Svatkovsky to pay interest (60 roubles), 
and the remaining 65 roubles he divided between 
Pasha (25 roubles) and Emily Fiodorovna (40 
roubles) ; and besides he promised to send me here, 
to Florence, 175 roubles by a definite date). Now 
I relied on receiving the money by that date for the 
means of moving to Dresden. But there was a 
little contretemps. Instead of sending the money 
by registered post, the Zarya sent it through an 

1 The Eternal Husband, published in Nos. 1 and 2 of Zarya> 1870. 



80 DOSTOEVSKY 

agency, and I received it ten or twelve days late. 
(Because it was not posted, I almost missed getting 
it altogether ; for the agency might have failed to 
find me at all in Florence.) Thus, for a fortnight, 
expecting money, we spent some more money, and 
we had not enough to take us to Dresden. I sent 
a request for relief to the Russky Viestnik. By 
January I shall send off a novel to the Russky 
Viestnik. 1 In Dresden I shall work without lifting 
my head from the grindstone. But generally there 's 
a mass of troubles and worries. The heat in Florence 
is getting awful ; it is a suffocating city, burning 
hot. The nerves of all of us are on edge, — which is 
particularly bad for my wife. We are crowded at 
the present moment (and all this en attendant) in 
the smallest, tiniest little room, facing the market. 
I am sick of this Florence, and now because of the 
heat and the overcrowding I can't even sit down 
to work. On the whole, terrible nostalgia, the worse 
for being in Europe ; everything here makes me 
feel like a beast. I have decided at all costs to 
return to Petersburg next spring (when I finish the 
novel), — even if they put me in the debtors' prison. 
I do not mention spiritual interests ; but even my 
material interests suffer here, abroad. Imagine, 
for instance, this circumstance : no matter how, 

1 The novel is The Possessed, which, however, did not begin to 
appear in the Russky Viestnik until January 1871, 






LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 81 

my works (all of them) have gone into a third, 
fourth, and fifth edition. The Idiot (whatever he 
is, I shall not argue now) is anyhow good merchan- 
dise. I know for certain that a second edition will 
be sold out in a year. Why not publish it then ? 
It 's just the time now, and chiefly — I want to for 
one special reason. What did I do ? Six weeks 
ago I gave Marie Gregorevna Svatkovsky the follow- 
ing commission : to call on A. F. Basunov [book- 
seller and publisher] (with a letter of introduction 
from me) and to give him this message : Won't he 
undertake to bring out The Idiot ? (It would be 
ready by next winter, if he took it up now.) The 
price — 2000 roubles (I even thought of letting him 
have it for 1500, if he paid the money down). The 
legal and formal aspects of the agreement need not 
postpone matters : for I could send a formal and 
duly certified authorisation from here. I asked 
Marie Gregorevna just to ask Basunov, without 
specially urging him, to say yes or no, and let me 
know here. If the answer is no (although he is 
quite aware how my books have been selling 
hitherto and what sort of merchandise they are), 
—then it is all right, I don't mind. I shall publish 
it myself when I come back and I shan't be the 
loser by it. It seems that my commission was not 
a difficult one, was it ? It could have been done 
in two minutes, by two words with Basunov. What 

F 



82 BOSTOEVSKY 

then ? It is now six weeks and I have not heard a 
word from Marie Gregorevna. Yet I asked her to 
do this (the first request in my life) simply because 
she herself eagerly offered to do any commissions 
for me in Petersburg, when she was in Switzerland 
last year. Thus my interests obviously suffer, 
solely because I am abroad. And not only this one 
thing ! A great number of things, which I cannot 
do without, have been left behind in Russia ! Did 
I or did I not tell you that I had a certain literary 
idea (a novel, a parable on atheism), compared with 
which all my previous literary career has been 
negligible, a preface merely, and to which I am 
going to devote all my subsequent life ? But 
I cannot write it here ; utterly impossible ; I 
absolutely must be in Russia. Without Russia I 
can't write it. . . . 

And what a mass of troubles ! What a mass of 
worries ! If only they were spared me ! Apollon 
Nicolayevich, for the love of God, write to me about 
Pasha and about his quarrels with Emily Fiodor- 
ovna ! It may be nonsense : but it is important 
to me. Yet Emily Fiodorovna has not written 
me a word about Pasha, but she sent me a letter 
the other day full of reproaches. They have queer 
notions. True, they are poor, but I can do only 
what I can. . . . Listen, Apollon Nicolayevich, I 
have a favour to ask you. If you can — do it, if 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 83 

not — refuse to do it. And for the love of God don't 
trouble yourself. Yet the trouble is not great ; 
but my request is a delicate one. It 's about that 
same Basunov. I beseech you to call on him at 
his shop and to ask him : Is he or is he not disposed 
to publish The Idiot, and to give me 2000 roubles 
for it? (I don't want to take less.) With Alexander 
Fiodorovich Basunov, as perhaps you know, you 
may talk frankly. Moreover, you are to make no 
efforts, and particularly don't try any special coax- 
ing, — only — in a friendly way — if a conversation 
arose — Basunov likes asking advice — say a good 
word for The Idiot. But above all — don't show 
any particular eagerness. Having learnt what he 
says — write to me. That 's all I ask. 

I 'm sure, I 'm sure you won't refuse my request 
(it 's a very important thing to me, in spite of the 
fact that I do not wish to reduce the price ; and if 
he says 4 no,' — well, that 's as he pleases, I shall 
not lose, I '11 publish it myself, or I '11 wait). But 
there is one delicate point in the affair. It is this. 
I had commissioned Marie Gregorevna to do this 
very thing, and made her promise secrecy, although 
I informed her at the same time that I was going 
to write to you about it. Won't she be offended by 
my asking you and passing her over ? At the same 
time, why should she be offended ? Especially as 
she knows that. you were to hear about it from me. 



84 DOSTOEVSKY 

And besides — she hasn't replied to me, although 
the time is passing, and the business is important 
to me. If she would only write to say that she did 
not want to undertake the commission, then at 
least my hands would not be tied ; but I 've had 
no word from her. At all events I think it 's quite 
all right ; I mean, it wouldn't be a bad idea if you 
were to call on Basunov, for instance, and ask him : 
whether he had received any proposal from me 
about publishing The Idiot ? And then, if you 
thought the conversation was taking a good turn, 
if you spoke to him about the terms. Well now, 
this is my earnest request to you, Apollon Nicola- 
yevich ! If you can, do it, I beseech you. I do not 
ask you to conclude the business (it cannot be 
concluded, for an agreement and a power of attorney 
are necessary), but only to begin it, and to let me 
know about it, if only a line. Only please do not 
scold and reproach me for troubling and worrying 
you constantly. — I consider it necessary, though, 
to tell you that one of these days I am going to 
write to Marie Gregorevna and to ask her to pro- 
ceed no further in the matter with Basunov, and 
to consider my request as never having been made. 
I should have written this to her, even if I had not 
intended to ask you about Basunov. But the best 
of all, the best of all — would be if you would take 
the trouble to see Marie Gregorevna herself and 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 85 

simply ask her : Has she done anything in my 
business, or has she forgotten about it ? But I am 
afraid to trouble you ; it means too much running 
about for you. 

I still hope to leave this place soon and go to 
Dresden again. Letters addressed to me in Dresden 
Will be forwarded to me to Florence, if I remain in 
Florence ; for I have already written about it to 
the Dresden post-office. But this is an extreme 
supposition ; I really do hope to leave soon for 
Dresden, and therefore if you wish to write me 
(I shall be eagerly expecting a letter), write to me 
at the poste restante, Dresden. 

In truth we have to move to Dresden for many 
urgent reasons, and chiefly because it is a city 
familiar to us, and comparatively cheap ; we even 
have friends there, and it is the place where Anna 
Gregorevna hopes to realise her expectations (it 
will be towards the beginning of September). Anna 
Gregorevna thanks you deeply for your good words ; 
she often remembers you and feels homesick. I am 
very glad that her present occupation will to some 
extent dispel her homesickness. Good-bye, my 
friend. I have written three sheets, and what have 
I told you ? Nothing. We have been separated 
too long, and because of the separation we have lost 
touch with one another on many questions. Some 
idea of all that is taking place in Petersburg reaches 



86 DOSTOEVSKY 

me. I have the Russky Viestnik, Zarya, and I read 
the Golos which is taken in by the local library. 
How do you like Danilevsky's Russia and Europe ? 
In my opinion the book is important in the extreme ; 
but I am afraid it has not received enough attention 
in the reviews. I consider Averkiev's Comedy the 
best work of the year. At the first reading I was 
in raptures ; now after the second I 've begun to 
regard it a little more cautiously. I press your 
hand firmly and embrace you. — Wholly and ever 
your F. Dostoevsky. 

VII 

To A. N. Maikov 

Dresden, ^th August, 18G9. 

I am absolutely delighted by your opinion and 
shall certainly write without waiting for your long 
letter, my dearest and precious friend Apollon 
Nicolayevich. (But remember, remember, dear 
man, that you promised me a long letter soon !) 
Firstly, I thank you for your thought about me and 
my interests. 1 . . . 

Next year (even if I have to go to the debtors' 
prison) I must return to Russia. Yes, things have 
now taken such a turn that it 's better for me to sit 

1 The letter then enters into details ahout a will made by 
Postoevsky's aunt which are omitted here, 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 87 

in the debtors' prison in Russia than to remain 
abroad. My health is quite good, leaving aside my 
fits, and I can bear all kinds of trouble ; but if I 
were to remain here a year longer, I should be sur- 
prised if I were able to write anything ; I don't mean 
write it well, but write it at all — I 've got so out 
of touch with Russia. I feel it. Anna Gregorevna 
also longs for Russia, I can see it. Besides, the loss 
of one child (a child such as I have never seen, so 
strong, beautiful, so full of understanding and 
feeling) was due solely to the fact that we could not 
fall in with the foreign way of feeding and rearing 
babies. If we lose the one which is expected, we 
both shall fall into real despair. Anna Gregorevna 
expects her confinement in three weeks at the 
latest. 1 I am terribly afraid for her health. Her 
first confinement she bore courageously. This time 
it is a completely different thing : she is seedy all 
the time, and besides she feels nervous and anxious ; 
she 's become impressionable and, added to this, she 's 
seriously afraid of dying in childbirth (when she 
remembers the pains of the first childbirth). Such 
fears and anxieties are truly dangerous in natures 
which are not timid and weak, and therefore I am 
very anxious. By the way : my wife greets you and 
your wife affectionately. She remembers you often 

1 The second child, Lubov or Aimee, was born at Presden, on 
September 14, 18G9/ 



88 DOSTOEVSKY 

and passionately, she thanks you for your congratula- 
tions on my novel, and we decided, eight months ago, 
to ask you to stand godfather again. Pray, Apollon 
Nicolayevich, do not refuse ; it is our great fixed 
desire. (The godmother as before is to be Anna 
Nicolayevna, whom you know, — my wife's mother.) 

In general I am having a very worrying time and 
an awful lot of troubles ; nevertheless I have to sit 
down to write — for the Zarya [The Eternal Husband], 
and then begin a long thing for the Russky Viestnik 
[The Possessed]. ... It is eight months since I wrote 
anything. I shall certainly start writing in a fever ; 
but what will happen later ? Ideas I have of some 
sort ; but I need Russia. 

Of course I know better than you how you spend 
the summer, and I knew beforehand that you would 
not write to me before the autumn. Yet there was 
one point about which I did expect to receive two 
lines of information from you. I don't mean it as 
a reproach. It was with regard to Basunov and 
the publication of The Idiot, — simply a matter of 
4 Yes ' or 4 No ' ; I did not even dare dream of 
putting on you, my dear man, the whole burden of 
the business ; and it wouldn't have been decent on 
my part to trouble you in such a way. Still, just 
the i yes ' or * no,' with Basunov's views, would have 
been interesting ; though I am not very keen on 
selling the work now. Later on — it may perhaps suit 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 89 

me better — and apart from this, in any case, I now 
have other aims and intentions ; for, come what 
may, I have decided to return to Russia next year. 

One more favour, my dear friend ! Write me a 
word about Pasha ! I am in anguish and torment, 
thinking and pondering over him. 1 know he has 
his salary — if only he continues his work ; but I 
should like to help him awfully. At the present 
moment I haven't a penny to spare ; but in a month 
or five weeks I shall send my story to the Zarya, 
which, owing to its length, will, I believe, fetch 
more than I 've had in advance from the Zarya. 
Then I shall again be able to give Pasha a small 
sum (a little is better than nothing). God knows 
how much I shall need money myself by that time. 
The Dostoevskys have probably received some 
money and will not need help from me for some 
time. Write to me about that, my dear friend. 

Write to me also about yourself. Write me the 
promised long letter. I think by the time this 
letter reaches Petersburg you will have returned 
from the country. 

I press your hand firmly, I greet your wife. Do 
you know, at times I have an idea that we have lost 
touch with one another much more than we think, 
and that it is already difficult to communicate our 
ideas fully in letters. — Wholly and ever your 

F, Dostoevsky, 



90 DOSTOEVSKY 

VIII 

To A. N. Maikov 

Dresden, Jf£ October, 1870. 
21st 

Your letter, my dear and much-esteemed Apollon 
Nicolayevich, — a letter which delighted and sur- 
prised me, — I 've left unanswered till now because 
I have been sitting down to some troublesome work, 
and wished to finish it at all costs. And therefore 
I not only failed to answer several letters, but 
didn't even read anything all that time (except 
newspapers, of course). The work which I 've 
taken so long over is only the beginning of the novel 
for the Russky Viestnik [The Possessed] and I shall 
have to write day and night for another six months 
at least ; so that I am sick of it beforehand. There 
is of course something in it which draws me to 
write it ; but speaking generally — there is nothing 
in the world more disgusting to me than literary 
work, I mean strictly, the writing of novels and 
stories — that is what I have come to ! As for the 
idea of the novel, it is not worth explaining. In 
the first place, to express it fully in a letter is quite 
impossible, and you will be punished enough if you 
are inclined to read the novel, when it is published. 
Then why should I punish you twice ? 

You wrote a great deal about St. Nicholas — the 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 91 

Miracle-Worker. He will not desert us, because 
St. Nicholas is the Russian spirit and stands for 
Russian unity. We are no longer children, you and 
I, much-esteemed Apollon Nicolayevich ; we know, 
for instance, this fact : that in case, — not only of 
a Russian disaster, but in case merely of Russian 
troubles, — the most un-Russian part of Russia, 
— a Radical — a Petersburg official, or a student — 
even they become Russians, begin to feel themselves 
Russians, although they may be ashamed of ad- 
mitting it. Last winter I happened to read a 
serious admission in a leading article in the Golos — 
that 4 we almost rejoiced during the Crimean War 
at the success of the Allied arms and at the defeat 
of our own.' No, my Radicalism did not go so 
far as that ; at that time I was still serving my 
time in the galleys and did not rejoice at the success 
of the Allies ; but together with my comrades, the 
unhappy ones x and their soldier-guards, I felt my- 
self a Russian, I wished success to Russian arms 
and, — although I still retained a strong leaven of 
scabby Russian Liberalism, preached by . . . like the 
dung-beetle Bielinsky and the rest, — I did not con- 
sider myself inconsistent, when I felt the Russian 
in myself. True, the facts showed that the disease 
which had attacked cultured Russians was much 

1 The convicts and exiles in Siberia are called ' unhappy ones ' by 
the people. 



92 DOSTOEVSKY 

more violent than we ourselves had imagined, and 
that the matter had not ended with the Bielinskys, 
Krayevskys, etc. But then came the miracle testi- 
fied by St. Luke. The devils had entered into the 
man and their name was legion, and they asked 
Him : Suffer us to enter into the swine, and He 
suffered them. The devils entered into the swine, 
and the whole herd ran violently down a steep place 
into the sea and were drowned. When the people 
came out to see what was done they found the man, 
out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at 
the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and 
those who saw it told them by what means he that 
was possessed of the devils was healed. Exactly 
the same has happened with us in Russia. The 
devils went out of the Russian and entered into a 
herd of swine, — into the Nechayevs, Serno-Solovio- 
viches, etc. [terrorists]. These are drowned and 
will be drowned, and the healed man, from whom 
the devils had been cast out, is sitting at the feet 
of Jesus. So it ought to happen. Russia has 
spewed out the abomination on which she has been 
surfeited, and certainly nothing Russian was left 
in those spewed-out scoundrels. And observe this, 
my dear friend : he who loses his people and 
nationality, loses also the belief of his fathers, and 
God. Well, if you want to know, — this is precisely 
the theme of my novel. It is called The Devils 



■ 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 93 

[called The Possessed in the existing English trans- 
lation], and it is a description of how these devils 
entered into a herd of swine. Beyond all doubt I 
shall write it badly ; being more of a poet than an 
artist I have always taken themes beyond my 
powers. But since not one of all the critics who 
have passed judgment on me has denied me a 
certain talent, then in this long novel too there are 
likely to be passages that are not so bad. Now 
that 's all. 

And in Petersburg there still seem to be many 
clever people who, although they are horrified by 
the scoundrels into whom the swine have entered, 
still go on dreaming how fine it was during the 
liberal-humane times of Bielinsky, who still think 
that the enlightenment of that time should be 
brought back. Now, this idea can be seen even 
in the newest nationalist converts, etc. The old 
fellows do not give in : the Plescheyevs, Annenkovs, 
Turgenevs, and whole journals like the Viestnik 
Europa are of this school. They go on giving prizes 
in girls' schools, distributing to the girls books like 
the works of Bielinsky, in which he bewails the fact 
that Tatyana remained faithful to her husband. 
No, it won't be uprooted for a long time, and there- 
fore, it seems to me, we have nothing to fear from 
external political commotions, such as, for instance, 
a European war on behalf of the Slavs ; although 



94 DOSTOEVSKY 

it is strange : we are alone, and they are all of them 
together. The present position allows us two or 
three years of certain peace — shall we realise our 
position ? Shall we prepare ? Shall we build 
enough railways and fortresses ? Shall we get 
another million rounds of ammunition ? Shall we 
settle firmly on the border territories, and will 
reforms be introduced into the poll-tax and the 
recruiting for the army ? These are the things that 
are needed, and the rest, that is, the Russian spirit, 
unity, — all this exists and will endure, and it will 
be so strong, it will have such wholeness and 
sacredness that even we are impotent to fathom 
the whole depth of that force, to say nothing of 
foreigners ; and — my idea is that nine-tenths of our 
power consists just in the fact that foreigners do 
not understand and never will understand the depth 
and power of our unity. Oh, how clever they are ! 
I have been assiduously reading for the last three 
years all the political papers, that is, the most im- 
portant of them. How remarkably well they know 
their own affairs ! How they can foretell events ! 
What a knack they have of hitting the nail exactly 
on the head ! (Compare them with our political 
papers, with their imitative rubbish, all imitation 
— with the exception perhaps of the Moscowskya 
Viedomosti.) What then ? No sooner do they 
touch on Russia, — than they start muttering the 



LETTERS TO A. N. MAIKOV 95 

devil knows what, like a feverish man in the dark ! 
In Europe I think they know the star Sirius more 
thoroughly than they know Russia. And this very 
thing, for a time, is our power. And the other 
power will be our own belief in our individuality, 
in the sacredness of our destiny. The whole 
destiny of Russia lies in Orthodoxy, in the light 
from the East, which will suddenly shine forth to 
Western humanity, which has become blinded and 
has lost Christ. The cause of the whole misfortune 
of Europe, everything, everything without excep- 
tion, has been that they gained the Church of Rome 
and lost Christ, and then they decided that they 
would do without Christ. Conceive now, my dear 
friend, that even in such superior Russians as, for 
instance, the author of Russia and Europe, I have 
not met with this idea about Russia — this idea of 
her exclusive Orthodox mission to mankind. And 
if this is so, — then it is really early as yet to demand 
independent thought from us. 

But I have gone too far into the wood, and I am 
on the fourth page already. I live somehow, try 
to work, I am too much behind everywhere in de- 
livering my work, everywhere I have broken my 
promises, — and suffer because of it. Anna Gregor- 
evna too is depressed ; so that I do not know what 
to do. I ought to return in the spring ; — but I have 
still no money, — not only not enough to pay my 



96 DOSTOEVSKY 

debts, but not enough even to get back home. I 
have few acquaintances here, yet there are as many 
Russians in Dresden as there are Englishmen. 
Rubbishy people, these Russians are, generally 
speaking, I mean. . . . And, my God, what trash 
there is among them ! And why do they wander 
about ? 

My little girl is healthy, well-nourished, weaned, 
she begins to understand well and even to speak ; 
but she is a very nervous child, so that I am afraid 
for her, although she is healthy. My greatly re- 
spected friend, why do you give me so few details 
when you write about Pasha, about such an event 
as his marriage ? For the love of Christ, tell me 
if you know. I have had no news from Pasha. 
And he is dear to me. Of course, it would be ridicu- 
lous on my part, at this distance, after a separa- 
tion of three years, to claim to have an influence on 
his decisions. Still it is sad. I have a cousin, 
Misha, who married when he was still younger than 
Pasha ; but he is a very intelligent boy, a boy of 
character. But Pasha is different — in character, 
and in the smallest matter of self-discipline. 

If you can write anything to me, you will make 
me very, very grateful. My wife greets you. 
Luba kisses you. Good-bye, keep well and happy. 
— Wholly your F. Dostoevsky. 



REMINISCENCES OF F. M. DOSTOEVSKY 

BY HIS WIFE 

ANNA GREGOREVNA DOSTOEVSKY 



G 



REMINISCENCES 

Anna Gregorevna Dostoevsky, nee Snitkin, had been 
trained as a shorthand writer. She finished her training 
in 1866, and became Dostoevsky 's secretary at a time 
when he was hastily finishing The Gambler. During 
the whole of October 1866, she wrote to his dictation. 
They were married on February 15, 1867, in a style 
which gave much satisfaction to the bride. She 
describes the scene in her Reminiscences, in a passage 
as yet unpublished : 

1 Fiodor Mihailovich arranged things well : the 
church was lighted brightly, a splendid choir sang, 
there was a crowd of beautifully dressed guests ; 
but all this I learnt only later, from what had been 
told to me ; for up to nearly half-way through the 
ceremony I felt as if I were in a mist, I crossed my- 
self mechanically and my answers to the priest's 
questions were scarcely audible. I did not even 
notice which of us was the first to step on to the 
pink silk cushion — I think that Fiodor Mihailovich 
was the first ; for I have given way to him all my 
life long. It was only after the Communion that 
my head became clear, and that I began to pray 
ardently. Afterwards every one told me that 
during the wedding ceremony I was terribly 
pale. . . .' 

The couple left Russia, originally for Dresden, two 
months later, on April 14, 1867, intending to remain 

99 



100 DOSTOEVSKY 

away for only three or four months. Circumstances, 
however, some of which are sufficiently indicated in 
the letters to Maikov, delayed the return until the 
spring of 1871. At that time Dostoevsky was very ill 
and very homesick, as may be seen from his letter of 
March 18, 1871, to N. N. Strahov : 

' I have been ill for some time, and above all I 
have felt homesick after my epileptic fit. When I 
have not had a fit for a long time, and then it 
suddenly breaks out, then I feel an unusual nos- 
talgia, a moral one. It drives me to despair. 
Formerly this depression used to last about three 
days after the fit, and now it lasts seven or eight 
days ; but all the time I have been in Dresden my 
fits have been less frequent than anywhere else. 
Secondly, there is the longing for work. I am almost 
worn out with the slowness of my work. I must go 
to Russia, although I have got quite unaccustomed 
to the Petersburg climate. But, after all, whatever 
happens, return J must. . . . My writing does not 
come off, Nicolay Nicolayevich, or it is produced 
with terrible difficulty. What all this means — I do 
not know. But I think it is my need for Russia. 
At whatever cost I must return to Russia. . . .' 

In his letter of February 4, 1872, to S. D. Yanovsky, 
six months after his return to Russia, he writes : 

* I spent four years abroad — in Switzerland, 
Germany, and Italy, and got terribly sick of it in 
the end. With horror I began to notice that I was 
falling behind Russia ; I read three papers, and 
spoke with Russians ; but there was a something 
which as it were I did not understand. I had to 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 101 

come back and see with my own eyes. Well, I Ve 
returned, and found nothing particularly puzzling ; 
in a couple of months I shall understand everything 
again ! ' 

But if Dostoevsky desired to return to Russia for his 
own sake, he was still more anxious to do so on account 
of his wife. In a letter to A. N. Maikov, Dostoevsky 
writes : 

* to remain in Dresden for another year is im- 
possible, quite out of the question. It would mean 
just killing Anna Gregorevna with despair, over 
which she has no control, since hers is a genuine 
case of home-sickness.' 

It was something more, perhaps, than home-sickness ; 
for Madame Dostoevsky 's existence was one of in- 
cessant work, incessant anxiety. The following pages 
show some of her troubles ; but it should further be 
remembered that during the last fourteen years of 
Dostoevsky 's life, — the most intense and productive 
years of his creative activity, — Anna Gregorevna was 
not only his wife and true friend, but also, as the 
Reminiscences indicate, his assistant, shorthand writer, 
publisher, financial adviser, and business manager. 

The Reminiscences of Madame Dostoevsky, for the 
year 1871-1872, are taken from three of her notebooks 
found in the Poushkin Department of the Russian 
Academy of Sciences in Petersburg. 



OUR RETURN TO RUSSIA IN 1871 

Our return to Petersburg, after an absence abroad 
for over four years, took place on a hot summer day, 
on July 8, 1871. 

From the Warsaw station we drove past the 
cathedral of Holy Trinity, in which our wedding 
had taken place. Both Fiodor Mihailovich and 
myself crossed ourselves, and seeing us do this our 
little baby daughter [Lubov] also made the sign of 
the cross. I remember Fiodor Mihailovich saying : 
' Well, Anechka, we have lived happily these four 
years abroad, despite the fact that at times life 
has been hard. What is life in Petersburg going 
to give us ? Everything is in a mist before us ! 
I foresee a good many troubles, difficulties, and 
worries before we stand on our own feet. On 
God's help only do I rely ! ' — * Why worry before- 
hand ? ' I remember answering him. ■ Let us rely 
on God's mercy. The chief thing now is that our 
long-cherished dream has been realised, and we 
are again in Petersburg, again in our mother 
country.' 

103 



104 DOSTOEVSKY 

Various feelings agitated us both. In me pre- 
vailed a feeling of boundless joy. I, who from my 
early youth had dreamt about life in Europe, and 
was so happy in going there, had for the last two 
years of our stay there not only grown cold to 
foreign countries, I had come to hate them almost. 
Everything abroad — religion, language, people, 
customs, manners — seemed to me not only foreign, 
but hostile. I missed Russian black bread, deep 
snow, sledges, the sound of Russian church bells ; 
in a word, everything that I have been accustomed 
to from my childhood. I saw that Fiodor Mihailo- 
vich worked without sparing himself; and I saw 
that now and then he received large sums of money ; 
but, as a considerable part of it had to be given to 
our relations, and interest had also to be paid on 
the articles we had pawned when we left for abroad, 
I lost hope of being able to save any considerable 
amount to pay over to our creditors, on our return 
to Petersburg, to prevent them from worrying us 
at the outset, and to get time to look round and see 
what we could do to improve our entangled cir- 
cumstances. I perfectly understood that only by 
returning home and by acting in person, and not 
through intermediaries, could we settle our financial 
affairs. It also seemed to me that in Petersburg 
I might find some work for myself, as stenographer, 
or translator, and thus be able to bring in a certain 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 105 

contribution. I also thought that my mother's 
house, in the Kostromsky Street, which was in- 
tended for me, would pass into my hands. In that 
case our liberation from our debts would proceed 
more successfully. I meant to sell the house im- 
mediately, to pay the most pressing debts, and to 
discharge the rest by instalments from the money 
received for Dostoevsky's novels. That is why I 
so much wished to go back to Russia. And yet 
all kinds of obstacles to our return cropped up 
constantly, and finally, we had not sufficient money 
to go back to Russia and to make our own home. 
A large sum happened to be due to us ; and yet 
we could not manage to go home. This was due 
partly to the fact that we anticipated in the very 
near future an addition to the family, partly to the 
fact that our baby was too young to take to Russia 
in the winter. There were never - ending diffi- 
culties of all sorts in the way of our return, and at 
last I came to the firm conviction that if we did not 
get away from Germany, we should be doomed to 
remain ' emigres against our will.' This idea was 
so intolerable that I agreed in anticipation to 
impending misery and misfortune of every kind, 
provided only they happened at home. In a word, 
I experienced in my own case what home-sick- 
ness meant, and I would not wish my worst 
enemy to meet with that misfortune. I did my 



106 DOSTOEVSKY 

best to hide from Fiodor Mihailovich my home- 
sickness and my depression ; but could anything 
be concealed from his penetration ? The impossi- 
bility of saving me from the misery of living abroad 
was a great grief to him. Fiodor Mihailovich him- 
self missed Russia very much : he always loved her 
so deeply. And besides he was haunted by a 
tormenting idea that by living abroad so long he 
would forget her, would cease to understand 
Russian life and Russian actualities. In other 
words, he feared that he would himself fall a victim 
to the thing with which he had once reproached 
Turgenev. ' You can't know life from the news- 
papers alone,' he would say to me. * A writer 
should not leave his country for a long time, he 
should live one life with her ; otherwise he is lost ! ' 
And Fiodor Mihailovich was alarmed lest such a 
long absence might have a bad effect on his literary 
talent, might ruin him. And truly his literary 
career was everything in his life, his vocation, as 
well as his only means of making a living. One 
can therefore imagine his overwhelming joy when 
favourable circumstances enabled us to return 
home. 

This time we did not allow the consideration that 
I expected an addition to the family in the very 
near future to stop us [Fiodor Fiodorovich 
Dostoevsky was born in July 1871, a week after 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 107 

the return]. But our feelings of joy were mingled 
also with apprehension as to how we could straighten 
out our affairs. We owed about twenty-five 
thousand roubles, and our whole fortune, on the 
day of our arrival, consisted of sixty roubles in cash 
and two trunks bought abroad. In one of these 
were Fiodor Mihailovich's clothes, his manuscripts 
and notebooks ; in the other — my things and the 
children's. When I think back on it all now, I 
think how much spiritual energy and power was 
needed to begin a new life in such circumstances. 

On our arrival we stopped at the Commercial 
Hotel, in the Great Konyushenna Street, and stayed 
there for two days. To stay on there was inadvis- 
able, in view of the coming addition to the family, 
and it did not suit our means either ; so we moved 
to a house in the Ekaterininsky Prospekt, where we 
took two furnished rooms on the fourth floor. We 
chose that neighbourhood in order that our little 
girl might spend the hot days of July and August 
in the Yussupov Park, which was quite close at 
hand. 

During the very first days of our arrival Fiodor 
Mihailovich's relations came to see us, and we 
received them all very cordially. During these 
last four years the position of Emily Fiodorovna 
Dostoevsky had changed for the better : her elder 



108 DOSTOEVSKY 

son, Fiodor Mihailovich (the ' junior,' as our rela- 
tions called him, to distinguish him from my hus- 
band, Fiodor Mihailovich ' senior '), had given many 
well-paid music lessons ; her second son, Mihail 
Mihailovich, had had work in a bank ; her daughter, 
Ekaterina Mihailovna, also had some kind of 
occupation. Consequently the family had lived 
quite comfortably. Moreover, Emily Fiodorovna 
had during that time become accustomed to the 
idea that Fiodor Mihailovich, having his own family 
to keep, could assist her only in exceptional circum- 
stances. Pavel Alexandrovich Isayev was the 
only one who could not rid himself of the idea that 
4 his father,' as he called Fiodor Mihailovich, * was 
obliged ' to keep not only him, but also his family. 
But him too I received kindly, because I happened 
to make the acquaintance of his wife, whom he had 
married only in April of that year. I liked 
Nadezhda Mihailovna Isayev at first sight, and, in 
spite of the slight difference in our ages, we became 
friends at once. She was a good-looking woman, 
not tall, very modest, and not stupid ; so that I 
could not possibly understand why she had decided 
to choose for her life-companion such an impossible 
man as Pavel Alexandrovich Isayev. I was sin- 
cerely sorry for her ; for, knowing his character, 
I foresaw that her life was not going to be happy. 
Eight days after our arrival in Petersburg, on 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 109 

July 16, at 9 o'clock in the morning took place 
the expected event — the birth of our elder son 
Fiodor. 1 

When I began to recover, we had our boy bap- 
tised, his godfather being Apollon Nicolayevich 
Maikov, who acted in the same capacity to our 
two daughters. For his godmother Fiodor Mihailo- 
vich chose our daughter Lyubochka, who was not 
yet two years old. 

At the end of August, Fiodor Mihailovich went 
off to Moscow and brought back a certain sum of 
money, not a very big sum, but enough to make 
it possible for us to move from the furnished rooms 
to a flat. The chief problem was our lack of 
furniture, which we had to get before taking the 
flat. The idea occurred to me of going to the 
Apraxin market and of asking the dealers there if 
they would agree to sell us furniture for monthly 
payments of 25 roubles, the furniture to be con- 
sidered the property of the dealer until the whole 
sum was paid. One dealer there, Lubimov, agreed 
to these terms and let us have at once goods to 



1 On this subject I may add : I felt ill up to July 15th. Fiodor 
Mihailovich, who prayed the whole day and night for the happy issue 
of my labour, told me afterwards that during his prayer he decided 
that if a son was born, if it were only ten minutes before midnight, 
to call him Vladimir, in honour of St. Vladimir, who is commemo- 
rated on July 15th, and not Fiodor as we had intended. But our 
son was born on July 16th, and was called Fiodor, the name so 
dear to me. 



110 DOSTOEVSKY 

the value of 400 roubles. But, Heavens, what 
things they were ! The furniture was new ; but 
it was made of birch or pine and, not to speak of 
its absurd style, it came from such a bad market, 
that after three years of use it became unglued and 
fell to pieces. In the end we had to throw it 
away and to replace it by new stuff. But even 
for that furniture I was grateful. It enabled us to 
have our own flat ; for living in furnished rooms 
was unthinkable, the close proximity of tiny babies 
preventing Fiodor Mihailovich from either sleeping 
or working. 

Having arranged the matter of furniture I began 
looking for a flat, and in this Isayev offered his 
assistance. That very evening he announced that 
he had found an excellent flat — eight rooms — at 
the very low rent of 100 roubles per month. 4 We 
don't need such a large flat,' I said. ' It isn't 
at all large,' answered Isayev. * You will have a 
drawing-room, study, bedroom, and nursery ; we 
shall have a drawing-room, study, bedroom ; and 
the dining-room we shall share between us.' ' Do 
you suppose that we are to live together ? ' ' Why 
not ? I told Nadya that when " my father " 
came back we should all live together.' This time 
I had to talk to him seriously and to convince him 
that circumstances had changed and that / would 
in no event agree to our living together. As usual, 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 111 

Isayev became impertinent and threatened to 
complain to Fiodor Mihailovich. But I refused to 
listen. I had not spent four years of independent 
life for nothing, and when Isayev turned to Fiodor 
Mihailovich, he received the answer that he had 
left everything to me and whatever I decided must 
hold good. For quite a long time Isayev could not 
forgive me for upsetting the plans he had formed. 
I took a flat in Serpuhov Street, from Mme. 
Archangelsky, and signed the agreement in my own 
name so as to relieve Fiodor Mihailovich of the 
necessity of negotiating with the landlady, the 
house-porter, etc. 

The flat consisted of four rooms : a study (in 
which Fiodor Mihailovich slept on a divan), a 
drawing-room, a dining-room, and a nursery in 
which I also slept. In arranging the house I com- 
forted myself with the thought that I should not 
have to buy many household things and clothes ; 
for before we left Russia our things had been dis- 
tributed among various people for safe-keeping. 
And soon after I recovered from my illness, I began 
to busy myself with getting these things together. 
But here unpleasant surprises came one after the 
other. It began in this way. I went off to my 
mother's house, in which an old maid called Olga 
Vasilievna had been living for many years. She 
was an extremely honest woman ; and to her safe- 



112 DOSTOEVSKY 

keeping my mother, three years previously, just 
before she went abroad to pay us a short visit, 
had entrusted various household effects, samovars, 
copper utensils, glass and china. To my great dis- 
tress it turned out that a few months previously 
Olga Vasilievna had died, that as she was a single 
woman a country cousin had turned up and buried 
her, and that the magistrate had ordered that all 
the effects found in the house should be sold in 
order to defray the expenses which the cousin 
had incurred on the funeral. There were people, 
lodgers in the house, who knew that Olga Vasilievna 
was only taking care of our things. But the cousin 
said ' she knew nothing about that,' but if she were 
told who had entrusted Olga with the goods and 
what they were, she would return them. And thus 
she took away all our things with her to the country. 
I wrote to her, to Torzhok, but received from her 
only a pair of malachite ear-rings and a tea-caddy, 
which she admitted had not belonged to her late 
aunt. As to the other things, she suggested that 
we should bring an action against her in court for 
their recovery. Of course, I brought no action. 
The other unpleasant surprise was the history of 
my china and glass, which I charged my sister Marie 
Gregorevna to keep for me. I may say that my 
father was a great connoisseur and expert in china. 
He loved to go round the antique shops and to 









REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 118 

buy beautiful things. After his death several 
beautiful old cups of Vieux-Saxe and Sevres came 
to me, and also some old cut-glass. All these 
things were kept in a special cupboard, and I felt 
sure that they were safe. But this is what hap- 
pened. When my sister returned from her summer 
holiday in the country, and was setting her house- 
hold things in order, she told the parlourmaid to 
wash the things in the cupboards, my things 
included, and specially asked her to be careful with 
my things as they did not belong to her. And then 
the maid, whom my sister had scolded for some- 
thing and threatened to sack, deliberately, out of 
spite, in order to pay my sister out, in the presence 
of the chambermaid and cook, threw the whole 
huge tray on the floor, with such force that every- 
thing was smashed to smithereens, and not a single 
thing could be glued together. Certainly, my sister 
made it up to me by sending me a tea-service 
and other crockery ; but even now I remember 
with regret the cups with the little shepherdesses 
on them, and also the tea-glass with a fly, so vividly 
painted on it that every one who drank from it 
would invariably try to remove it, imagining it was 
alive. And I would pay a good deal to get them 
back. The impressions of childhood remain with 
us all our life long. It was just my luck that the 
maid's spite should have been vented on these 

н 



114 DOSTOEVSKY 

things of mine, and not on those of my sister who 
had given her the scolding. There is truth in the 
proverb : 4 Misfortunes never come singly.' 

I was also greatly distressed by another surprise. 

During the whole four years of our stay abroad 
Fiodor Mihailovich used to send Praskovya Petrovna 
(the mother of Vanya, the natural son of Fiodor 
Mihailovich's brother — Mihail Mihailovich Dos- 
toevsky) money to pay the interest on the 
things which we had pawned on leaving Russia 
(Fiodor Mihailovich's fur coat and my fur cloak), 
and we congratulated ourselves that we should 
only have to redeem the things and not to spend 
much money on buying warm clothes. Imagine 
our sorrow — mine and Fiodor's — when Praskovya 
Petrovna, whom I had asked to bring us the pawn- 
brokers' receipts, came to us and told us with tears 
in her eyes a story (perhaps false) of how she had 
been paying the interest all the time, but had for- 
gotten to pay the last instalment, and that our 
things were now lost. She cried, promised to get the 
things back ; but all these were empty promises, 
never fulfilled. True, we owe her thanks for having 
returned to us the pawnbrokers' receipts for the 
gold and silver things we pawned. These things 
had to lie there pledged for another five years before 
we managed to redeem them. 

When we left in 1867 for abroad, for three months 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 115 

only, we moved certain articles of furniture (the 
bed, a large chest of drawers filled with cushions 
and blankets, Fiodor Mihailovich's library, etc.) 
to Emily Fiodorovna, in whose flat Isayev at that 
time was settled. There were also stored the old 
icons of the Saviour and Our Lady in silver frames, 
which had been presented to me when I married. 
When I was arranging the flat I asked Isayev to 
fetch my icons. He brought them to me — but 
without the silver frames. Thereupon he told a 
story of how his landlady (he had had a dozen 
landladies in four years) had robbed him, how 
once when he returned home he found that the 
silver frames were missing, what steps he took for 
their recovery, the proceedings in court. As to 
the furniture, cushions, blankets, he said that he 
had taken them for his own family ; and as to the 
library, he candidly confessed that as he had no 
money he had been selling one book after another. 
He also sold all books presented to Fiodor Mihailo- 
vich, with autographs and dedications by their 
authors. When I expressed regret at the loss of 
the library Isayev turned round on me and 
declared that we ourselves were to blame for every- 
thing : 4 Why hadn't we sent him money punctu- 
ally ? ' As if we were obliged to keep a robust, 
strong, lazy fellow ! 

The loss of Fiodor Mihailovich's library we felt 



116 DOSTOEVSKY 

particularly keenly. I remember how, when we 
lived abroad, Fiodor Mihailovich longed for his 
books, and I comforted him with the assurance 
that the library was perfectly safe and that he 
would have it back on his return to Russia. And 
now came the loss — irreparable to us : for our 
financial circumstances, right up to the death of 
Fiodor Mihailovich, were such that we never had 
means to acquire a decent library again. And 
Fiodor Mihailovich was justly proud of his old 
library, on which he had spent large sums of money 
every year. To judge from the bills of Basunov 
the bookseller, the library contained many serious 
works ; for instance, it was rich in the literature of 
the Old Believers. And all this had been sacrificed 
for a mere song. Later on, in the Alexandrovsky 
market, I chanced to find one of the books sold by 
Isayev which had belonged to me ; a book which 
had been given to me as a prize when I passed from 
one class to another in the Maryinsky Gymnasium 
for Girls. In the book remained the fly-leaf, with 
the inscription setting forth the name of the person 
to whom the book had been given. Of course I 
bought the book back. 

These are the kinds of losses by which we had, 
through most incredible accidents, to pay for the 
four years spent abroad. 

Yet not all the surprises were unpleasant. There 






REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 117 

came to light one circumstance which gave me great 
joy. In the winter of 1871 I happened to pay 
a visit to my cousin, Dr. M. N. Snitkin. In the 
spring of that year he had married Ekaterina 
Ippolitovna, the sister of Mme. Saint-Hilaire. When 
she heard about our misfortunes with regard to our 
things, Ekaterina Ippolitovna said to me : ' I Ve 
heard from my sister Sasha (Alexandra Ippolitovna 
Saint-Hilaire) that at the top of her house there 
was a basket of papers belonging to your husband.* 
I began to question her, and it turned out that about 
three years before Fiodor Mihailovich 4 junior ' had 
asked Mme. Saint-Hilaire's permission to leave with 
her, for a short time, a wicker basket containing 
his uncle's papers. He himself had disappeared ; 
but the basket remained with them. Next day I 
sent for the basket. And there arrived a large 
laundry-basket, packed full with papers and note- 
books, not locked but tied with a thin string. 

My ecstasy can be imagined when, examining 
the contents of the basket, I found several note- 
books by Fiodor Mihailovich, several books of 
memoranda relating to the conduct of the reviews 
Vremya and Epocha, left by Mihail Mihailovich ; 
and a mass of most varied correspondence. These 
recovered papers more than once served us a good 
turn in our subsequent life, when it was necessary 
to prove or refute certain facts in the life of Fiodor 



118 DOSTOEVSKY 

Mihailovich which had been unknown to me before 
1867. As it appeared later, Isayev, on our depar- 
ture, took that basket of letters and notebooks 
to his rooms. When he moved from Emily Fiodor- 
ovna's house, he left the basket there, but as she 
did not know what to do with it, she handed it 
over to her son, Fiodor 4 junior,' who placed it for 
safe-keeping with friends. And then every one 
forgot about it. It had occurred to me that Fiodor 
Mihailovich might have notebooks and manuscripts 
of an earlier period — for instance, of the period when 
he wrote his Insulted and Injured or The House of 
the Dead. And it seemed to me another basket 
of papers and manuscripts must be in existence, a 
basket also taken by Isayev, and from him passed 
through several hands, now lying in somebody 
else's attic, forgotten by everybody until the mice 
began to look after it. But in spite of all my efforts 
I could not discover it. 

The Beginning of the Struggle with 
the Creditors 

In September 1871 a newspaper announced to 
the public Dostoevsky's return from abroad, and 
thereby rendered us no good service. Our creditors, 
hitherto silent, at once presented themselves, de- 
manding payment. The first, and a very formid- 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 119 

able one, was G. Hinterlach. Fiodor Mihailovich 
owed him nothing personally, nor was it a debt 
contracted during the run of the reviews. It was 
a debt of the late Mihail Mihailovich's, my husband's 
brother, contracted when he was in the tobacco trade. 
[This tobacco business ceased to exist in 1861.] 
In order to stimulate the sale of his firm's tobacco, 
Mihail Dostoevsky advertised in the papers that 
every box of cigars of a certain kind contained a 
prize, — a pair of scissors, a razor, a needle-case, a 
penknife, and so on. These prizes attracted 
customers, and at first the scheme was a great suc- 
cess. But as the choice of prizes was limited, the 
customers soon began to fall off and the despatch 
of boxes had to be stopped. The prizes consisted 
exclusively of metal articles which Mihail Dostoevsky 
bought from the wholesale dealer G. Hinterlach 
(Nevsky, opposite the Gostiny Dvor, in the court- 
yard). The latter sold him the goods on credit 
and on bills at a high rate of interest. When the 
subscription to the review Vremya went off success- 
fully, Mihail Dostoevsky paid Hinterlach in full, 
having always considered him the most exacting 
of his creditors. And three or four days before 
his death (in July 1864) Mihail Dostoevsky told 
his wife and Fiodor Mihailovich with joy that he 
had at last settled everything with ' that blood- 
sucker Hinterlach.' And when on the death of 



120 DOSTOEVSKY 

Mihail Dostoevsky all his affairs devolved on Fiodor 
Mihailovich, and against his will he had to take 
over the liabilities of the review Vremya, — Mme. 
Hinterlach came to him and said that Mihail 
Dostoevsky owed her about two thousand roubles. 
Fiodor Mihailovich remembered what his brother 
had said about his having paid his debt to Hinter- 
lach, and informed Mme. Hinterlach of this. But 
she said that this was a separate debt, and that she 
had given the amount to Mihail Dostoevsky without 
having received any acknowledgment from him. 
Mme. Hinterlach implored Fiodor Mihailovich 
either to pay her the 2000 roubles or to give her a 
bill ; she assured him that if she failed to get a 
bill, her husband would make it very unpleasant 
for her. She cried, fell on her knees before Fiodor 
Mihailovich, went into hysterics. Fiodor Mihailo- 
vich, who always believed in human honesty, 
believed her, and gave her two bills, of 1000 
roubles each. The first bill had been paid before 
1867, but the second bill, amounting with four 
years' interest to 1300 roubles, was presented by 
Hinterlach for payment immediately after our 
arrival. He sent a threatening letter, and Fiodor 
Mihailovich went to him to ask for a postponement 
till the New Year (1872), when he was to receive 
money for his novels. Fiodor Mihailovich returned 
home in utter despair. Hinterlach declared that 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 121 

he was not going to wait any longer and decided 
to attach all our movables, and if the latter were 
not sufficient to cover the debt, he would put 
Fiodor Mihailovich in the debtors' prison. Fiodor 
Mihailovich said to him : ' If I 'm sitting in prison, 
in one room together with other people, away from 
my family, how shall I be able to work ? How 
shall I be able to pay you if you deprive me of the 
possibility of working ? ' — 4 Oh, you are a famous 
author, and I reckon the Literary Fund will get 
you out immediately,' said Hinterlach. Fiodor 
Mihailovich, who had no particular respect for the 
Committee of the Literary Fund as constituted at 
that time, expressed his doubt about getting any 
assistance from that body ; and declared that even 
if they offered him such assistance, he would 
rather go to prison than accept it. In the evening 
Fiodor Mihailovich and I discussed the matter for 
a long time, and decided to propose to Hinter- 
lach the following new arrangement : to pay him 
50 roubles down, and monthly instalments of 25 
roubles, and have half of the debt discharged in the 
coming year. With that offer Fiodor Mihailovich 
paid Hinterlach a second visit, and came home 
utterly disgusted. After a long conversation, 
Hinterlach had said to him : ' Now, you are a 
gifted author, and I want to show you that I, a 
small German shopkeeper, can put a famous Russian 



122 DOSTOEVSKY 

author in the debtors' prison, and be sure, I mean 
to do it.' * I was revolted by this impertinent 
behaviour to my dear husband ; but I realised that 
we were in the hands of a scoundrel and had no 
means of getting rid of him. Foreseeing that 
Hinterlach would not stop at mere threats, I 
decided to try to arrange the matter myself, and 
without saying a single word to Fiodor Mihailovich 
about my intention (he would certainly have for- 
bidden it), I went off to Hinterlach. He received 
me arrogantly and said : * Either you put the money 
on the table, or in a week's time your movables 
will be attached and sold by auction, and your 
husband settled in "Tarasov's House." ' 2 To this 
I answered coolly, that our flat had been taken 
by me, and not by Fiodor Mihailovich, and was 
registered in my name (and I had done this to pre- 
vent my husband from being troubled with house- 
hold worries, negotiations with the landlady and 
house-porter, etc.) ; and therefore I should not 
allow my things to be attached. As to the furni- 
ture, I had bought it on credit and until I paid the 
furniture dealer, it all belonged to him, and could 
not be attached. He could attach a few of Fiodor 
Mihailovich's clothes ; but these would fetch too 

1 It must be said that after their victory in the Franco-Prussian 
war all Germans living abroad became extremely arrogant and tried 
to show the superiority of their nation over other nations. 

2 The debtors' prison was so called in the vernacular. 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 123 

small a sum to be worth the trouble. As proof I 
showed him the lease of the flat and a copy of my 
agreement with the furniture dealer. As to Hinter- 
lach's threat about the debtors' prison, I said to 
him that if he fulfilled it and Fiodor Mihailovich 
were compelled to go to prison, if it were only for 
a few days, ' Then I give you my word of honour, 
Herr Hinterlach, that I shall go down on my knees 
and pray my husband to remain in prison up to the 
time when the date of your bill has expired. 1 I 
shall take rooms myself close to the prison, I and 
the children will visit him daily, and I shall help 
him in his work. Certainly, if he stays in prison 
with others in one room, my husband will find it 
difficult to work, but with God's help he will get 
accustomed to it and will work. But as for you, 
Herr Hinterlach, you won't get a brass farthing, 
and besides you will be obliged to pay his " main- 
tenance." a I give you my word that it will all 
be as I say, and you will be cruelly punished for 
your obstinacy.' Hinterlach began to talk about 
my husband's ingratitude, and said he had waited 
a long time for his money. This finally revolted 
me ; I was beside myself, and said : 4 No, it is you 

1 The imprisonment of a debtor extinguished the debt. For a sum 
of 1300 roubles one would have to sit in prison, if I remember right, 
either nine or fourteen months. 

2 A creditor at that time had to pay in a certain sum of money to 
the debtors' prison monthly to feed and keep his debtor, and this 
was called 'maintenance.' 



124 DOSTOEVSKY 

who should be grateful to my husband for having 
given a bill to your wife for a debt which had 
perhaps been paid already. She had had no 
acknowledgment from Mihail Dostoevsky, and my 
husband was under no obligation to make himself 
responsible for the sum. Fiodor Mihailovich, in 
giving a bill to your wife, acted out of generosity, 
out of pity ; for your wife cried and said that 
you would curse and reproach her eternally, if she 
failed to get a bill from him. But don't think that 
your cruelty will go unpunished. If you dare to 
act as you threaten to do, I on my part will do my 
very best to make things unpleasant for you : I 
shall describe the affair with all the details and 
publish it in the Syn Otechestva. Let every one see 
what the so-called " honest Germans " are capable 
of. People will recognise you under an invented 
name, and if you take proceedings against me, I 
shall prove that I have written the truth ; there are 
witnesses in whose presence your wife implored 
Fiodor Mihailovich to give her the bill.' 

In a word, I was beside myself and spoke without 
picking my words, just to give vent to my over- 
powering anger against the man. And although 
more than once in my life I have been the victim 
of my anger, this time it was of real service to me : 
the German was frightened of my threat to expose 
him in the newspapers and, after thinking for some 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 125 

time, he asked me what I wanted. ' The very 
same terms my husband asked you to grant yester- 
day,' I said. 'Well, give the money, then,' said 
Hinterlach. I asked him to put down our terms 
in detail on paper and sign them ; for I was afraid 
that he might take back his words, and begin tor- 
menting us again. A complete conqueror, I re- 
turned home with the document in my pocket, and 
with the knowledge that thereby for some time at 
least I had secured my dear husband's peace and 
my own. 

But before I tell about our struggle with our 
creditors and the incredible efforts and difficulties 
(lasting for another ten years, almost until the death 
of my dear husband) which we encountered in the 
attempt to pay off our debts, I want to say a few 
words about how those debts, which tormented us 
both so much, had mounted up. 

Only a very small part of them (two or three 
thousand roubles) had been contracted by Fiodor 
Mihailovich himself for his personal needs. Partly 
they were debts incurred by Mihail Dostoevsky 
in connection with his tobacco business, which I 
mentioned above. But in the main they were 
debts contracted for the running of the reviews 
Vremya and Epocha, which were published by 
Fiodor Mihailovich's brother, Mihail Mihailovich. 



126 DOSTOEVSKY 

In 1864 Mihail Mihailovich died, after a short illness 
of three days only. His family (a wife and four 
little children), accustomed to live comfortably, 
was left without any means. And then Fiodor 
Mihailovich, who had been left a widower with no 
children, considered it his duty to pay his brother's 
debts, and as it were to clear his brother's memory 
from reproach, and also to support his family. 
With these noble objects Fiodor Mihailovich de- 
cided to sacrifice his talent (by changing it into 
small coin), his powers, and his time, and to take 
on his shoulders the load of a business completely 
unfamiliar to him (the publication and running of 
the review Epocha). Having become editor of the 
paper, Fiodor Mihailovich had inevitably to take 
over the liabilities of the review, namely, the debts 
to the paper manufacturers, to the printers, binders, 
as well as those due to the authors who published 
their works in the review. Fiodor Mihailovich 
might possibly have been able to realise his noble 
intentions, if caution and even a slight business 
capacity had formed elements of his character. 
But these qualities Fiodor Mihailovich lacked 
altogether. On the contrary, he had the com- 
pletest trust in people and a sincere conviction of 
human honesty. When later on I heard stories 
from eye-witnesses of the financial obligations which 
Fiodor Mihailovich had incurred, and learnt from 






REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 127 

old letters the details of many such instances, I 
was astounded at the utterly childish unpracti- 
cally of my dear husband. Every one, who had 
no conscience and was not too lazy, deceived him 
and dragged money or bills out of him. During 
his brother's lifetime Fiodor Mihailovich had no 
connection with the business side of the Vremya, 
and was ignorant of the exact financial status of 
Mihail Mihailovich. But after his death people 
began coming to Fiodor Mihailovich, some, perfect 
strangers to him, declaring that the deceased owed 
them such and such sums. In most cases they did 
not present to Fiodor Mihailovich any proofs of the 
correctness of their claims, and Fiodor Mihailovich, 
who believed in human honesty, did not even think 
of asking for proofs or of documentary evidence. 
He would merely say : 1 1 haven't any money at 
all just now ; but if you like, I can give you a bill ; 
only I ask you not to demand payment soon ; I 
will pay you as soon as I can.' People took the 
bills, promised to wait and, of course, did not keep 
their promises, but presented the bills for im- 
mediate payment. I shall cite one case, the correct- 
ness of which I happened to verify from documents. 
There was one insignificant writer B. who published 
stories in the Vremya. He came to Fiodor Mihailo- 
vich asking for money for some stories of his which 
had not been paid for. He put the amount owing 



128 DOSTOEVSKY 

to him at 250 roubles. As usual, Fiodor Mihailo- 
vich had no money (the subscription money had 
been received by Mihail Mihailovich, and the further 
subscription money went to the family of the de- 
ceased), and he offered him a bill. B. was deeply 
moved, thanked Fiodor Mihailovich earnestly, 
promised to wait until things improved, and asked 
for an undated bill, so as not to be obliged to take 
proceedings, as he would be if the date were fixed. 
Fiodor Mihailovich agreed. Imagine his astonish- 
ment when, in two or three weeks' time, the bill 
was presented for payment, and attachment of his 
property was threatened. Fiodor Mihailovich went 
to B. for an explanation. B. expressed extreme 
indignation over the affair, and said : ' Don't you 
see, my landlady pressed me hard for money and 
threatened to turn me out of the flat. Reduced to 
extremity, I decided to give her your bill, and she 
promised not to present it. I am in despair at 
having placed you in such a situation ; I will arrange 
the matter,' etc. etc. As a result, in order to save 
our property from attachment, Fiodor Mihailovich 
had to raise money at heavy interest to pay that 
bill. About eight or nine years later, in the 
'seventies, I had on one occasion to go through a 
mass of documents, papers, and notebooks kept by 
Fiodor Mihailovich. Among the notebooks were 
also books of memoranda relating to the Vremya. 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 129 

Imagine my surprise and indignation, when I found 
B.'s receipt for this very same sum of money which 
had already been paid him by Mihail Mihailovich, 
and also a note signed by B. in which he acknow- 
ledged the receipt of an advance of 60 roubles on 
account of a story which he undertook to write. 
I showed all these documents to Fiodor Mihailo- 
vich. His reply was : ' I could not have thought 
he was capable of deceiving me. What a man may 
be brought to by necessity ! ' 

In my opinion a considerable part of the financial 
obligations shouldered by Fiodor Mihailovich were 
of a similar nature. In this way a debt of about 
twenty thousand roubles had accumulated and, 
with the ever-growing interest, it amounted to 
twenty-five thousand roubles, and all the last 
thirteen years of our married life we were engaged 
in paying off this debt. It was only one year before 
Fiodor Mihailovich's death that all our debts were 
paid off, and that we could begin to breathe freely 
without fear of being tortured, threatened, attacked, 
etc. Moreover, for the payment of these, partly 
fictitious debts, Fiodor Mihailovich had to work 
beyond his powers, to work hurriedly, sometimes 
running the risk of spoiling an imaginative work, 
and terribly tormented by the thought of what 
he was doing. Fiodor Mihailovich, myself, and all 
our family had to deny ourselves not only pleasure 

I 



130 DOSTOEVSKY 

and comfort, but our most urgent needs. We had 
to work hard during the whole time of our married 
life, concentrating all our thoughts on getting 
quit of the tormenting debts. How much happier, 
and more easily and comfortably my poor husband 
could have lived these fourteen years, and I too, 
if there had not always hung over us the worry of 
debt. If we had had money, Fiodor Mihailovich 
would not have been compelled to offer his work 
to editors, but could have waited until they came 
to him and offered to buy his novels, as was the case 
with all well-to-do writers : Turgenev, Ostrovsky, 
Pisemsky, etc. Had he not had those debts and 
the resulting cares that oppressed his spirit, Fiodor 
Mihailovich need not have written his works 
hurriedly, as he was compelled to do. He could 
have gone carefully through them, polishing them, 
before letting them appear in print ; and one can 
imagine how much they would have gained in 
beauty. Indeed, until the very end of his life 
Fiodor Mihailovich had not written a single novel 
with which he was satisfied himself ; and the cause 
of this was our debts ! 

And when I think of my life, there always arises 
in me a bitter feeling. I can understand the moral 
satisfaction when you pay your own debts. You 
remember that once some one helped you out of a 
tight corner, helped you in an anxious moment, 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 131 

and you are delighted at the possibility of paying 
them back with gratitude. But quite a different 
feeling arises in my heart when I have to pay 
other people's debts, the debts of a man whom I 
have never known — Mihail Dostoevsky died in 
1864, — and above all, fictitious debts, on bills 
extorted from my dear husband under false pre- 
tences. I often thought how far happier and more 
joyful my life would have been if I had not had 
those eternal troubles : where to get by such and 
such a date such and such a sum of money, where 
and for what amount to pawn this or that thing, 
how to arrange so that Fiodor Mihailovich should 
not get to know about a visit from this threatening 
creditor, or should not discover that I had pawned 
that article. Truly my life was darkened by all 
these affairs and worries, on them my youth was 
wasted, my health suffered because of them, and 
my nerves were shattered for ever. 

And when I think that at least half of these 
debts, and therefore half of our miseries, could have 
been spared Fiodor Mihailovich and his family, if 
amongst his friends and acquaintances there had 
been found one or two good men, who would have 
cared to advise Fiodor Mihailovich in these prac- 
tical matters which were so totally unfamiliar to 
him, it has always seemed to me inconceivable 
(and, to tell the truth, cruel) — that Fiodor Mihailo- 



132 DOSTOEVSKY 

vich's friends (nomina sunt odiosa 1 ), knowing his 
purely childish unpractically, his extreme trust- 
fulness, his ill-health and complete insecurity, 
could allow him to act in person and alone in this 
business of clearing up the liabilities of the review 
after the death of Mihail Dostoevsky. Could not 
the • friends ' foresee that Fiodor Mihailovich, so 
unpractical and so trustful, was in this case bound 
to make irreparable mistakes ? Could not my dear 
husband's ' friends ' have formed among them- 
selves a group to help him to investigate the business, 
to settle the claims and to demand proofs of each 
debt ? I am convinced that had such a group 
been formed, many claims would not have appeared 
at all, as they would have had to be submitted 
to a proper control. No, among Fiodor Mihailo- 
vich's ' friends ' and ' admirers ' not a single good 
man was found who cared to sacrifice his time and 
power and thereby to render him a true friendly 
service. Of course they were all sorry for Fiodor 
Mihailovich, and sympathised with his impossible 
position ; but all their sympathy was ' words, 
words, words.' 

It may perhaps be said that Fiodor Mihailovich's 
1 friends ' were poets, novelists, critics, and what 
could they have understood of practical matters ? 

1 Anna Gregorevna has evidently in view Dostoevsky's twc 
greatest friends — N. N. Strahov and A. N. Maikov.— Tr, 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 133 

Could they have given him practical advice ? But 
surely they were not raw youths at that time (the 
'sixties), and they managed their own affairs 
superbly. 

It will perhaps be said that Fiodor Mihailovich 
wanted to be independent, and would not have 
welcomed such assistance from his friends. But 
this is an absolutely false idea. The proof of this 
is the readiness and the complete confidence with 
which he transferred all his business affairs into my 
hands, and listened to and adopted all my advice, 
although at the outset he naturally could not 
consider me an experienced business person. But 
he trusted me ; and just as profoundly did he trust 
his friends also, and certainly would not have 
refused their assistance had it been offered to him. 
Yes, this has always astonished me and I never 
could explain to myself these * friendly ' relations, 
and in my soul there has always remained a bitter 
feeling of dissatisfaction and resentment against 
those ' friends ' of my dear husband. 

II 

SUPPLEMENT 

ave already mentioned that when our creditors 
learnt of our arrival from the papers, they just 
threw themselves on us. From their point of view 





134 DOSTOEVSKY 

they were right ; for they had been waiting a long 
time and wanted to get their money. But what 
could we do, if we had no means of satisfying them 
at once ? My hope of obtaining the house which 
had been intended for me, and of selling it immedi- 
ately in order to pay off our more pressing creditors, 
could not be realised at once ; for my mother, on 
account of my brother's marriage, still remained 
abroad. In November 1871 also my sister, Marie 
Gregorevna Svatkovsky, who managed my mother's 
house, went away to Rome for the whole winter 
She had promised, on her return in the spring, tc 
hand over the houses, as well as all the account} 
concerning it, to my mother, who intended tc 
return to Russia in January 1872. We had thu. 1 
willy-nilly to wait till the spring. And in the spring 
a terrible calamity befell us all : my sister Mari< 
fell ill with typhus in Rome and died there oi 
May 1, 1872. After her death it transpired tha 
Marie had transferred her power of attorney fo 
the management of my mother's houses to he 
husband ; and the latter, in his turn, had trans 
ferred it to a person who was unworthy of th 
trust. In the course of three or four years thi 
gentleman, having pocketed all the income derive 
from the houses, did not consider it necessary t 
pay the rates or the taxes. Thus large arreai 
were accumulated, and my mother's houses wei 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 135 

ordered to be sold by public auction. To our great 
misfortune, we had no means to pay the arrears 
and thus to save the houses from the enforced sale. 
Yet we reckoned that the houses would fetch a 
good price, and that my mother would receive, 
after paying the debts on the houses, a consider- 
able sum, part of which she would give me instead 
of the house intended for me. But something 
completely unexpected happened. The gentleman 
who managed the houses entered into fictitious 
agreements with persons he had suborned, to whom 
he alleged he had let the houses on lease, for the 
maximum period allowed by law, ten years, and 
had received the rent due for all that period. This 
transaction transpired only at the auction ; and it 
is obvious that no one was to be found who wanted 
to buy houses from which no income was to be 
derived for ten years. And then the scoundrel 
bought our houses for the amount of the arrears 
due to the Government and the comparatively 
small sum of debts resting on the property (about 
ten thousand roubles), — thus having managed to 
acquire for 12,000 roubles three houses and two 
large annexes, the value of which was not less than 
40,000 roubles. It turned out in the end that not a 
penny was left to my mother, myself, or my brother. 
Certainly, we could have taken proceedings; but 
in order to do this money was needed, and we had 



136 DOSTOEVSKY 

none. And besides, we had to deal with a clever 
swindler who managed to arrange things correctly 
from the legal point of view ; so we should hardly 
have won the case. Besides, by taking legal action, 
we should have had to involve also my sister's 
husband, and this would have ended in a quarrel, 
and we should have been deprived of the possi- 
bility of seeing my sister's four orphan-children, 
of whom we were very fond. Having weighed all 
the possibilities, we decided not to take proceed- 
ings, and to reconcile ourselves to the loss of the 
houses. But how hard it was for me to bear the 
blasting of this, the most solid of my hopes of 
improving our difficult situation ! But the utter 
hopelessness of this affair only became clear to me 
finally a couple of years later ; for at first I still 
cherished the hope of receiving a certain sum of 
money and thus paying our most urgent debts. 

At first I allowed the creditors to carry on 
negotiations with Fiodor Mihailovich, who insisted 
on it. But the results of those negotiations were 
disappointing : the creditors were impudent to him, 
threatened to distrain on our household things 
and to put him in the debtors' prison. After such 
negotiations Fiodor Mihailovich would be driven 
to despair, would pace his room for hours, would 
ruffle his hair on his forehead (his habitual gesture 
in great agitation), and repeat : ' Well, what are 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 137 

we to do now ? ' And the next day there would 
often follow a fit of epilepsy. I was terribly sorry 
for Fiodor Mihailovieh and, without telling him, 
I decided not to allow the creditors to see him, but 
to take all this annoying business on myself alone. 
The servant was ordered once and for all, when 
opening the door to a caller, to say ' the master is 
asleep,' or 4 the master is not at home, so will you 
please speak to the lady ? She is always at home in 
the morning till 12.' What strange types used to 
come to me during those days ! In most cases they 
were bill brokers who bought bills for a mere nothing 
and demanded payment in full, all sorts of civil 
servants' widows, landladies of furnished rooms, 
retired officials, low-down solicitors. Certainly, 
they all threatened distraint and the debtors' 
prison ; but I had already learnt how to talk to 
them. My chief argument was the same as I 
employed in dealing with Hinterlach : ' I owe you 
nothing personally, the flat is in my name, and the 
furniture belongs to the furniture-dealer. Fiodor 
Mihailovieh has nothing but his wearing apparel, 
which I suggest you should distrain on.' As 
regards the debtors' prison, I assured them that 
Fiodor Mihailovieh would readily go there, since 
there he would be able to work. But in that case 
they would receive nothing. If, however, they 
wanted to settle matters amicably, I promised to 



138 . DOSTOEVSKY 

pay by instalments, at such and such a date, on 
such and such a month, so much money, and of 
this they might be assured. I gave my word for 
it, and now I could pay so much. The creditors, 
seeing the futility of their threats, would agree, and 
we would sign a separate agreement which gave 
me the certainty that so long as I kept my word, 
Fiodor Mihailovich's peace would not be disturbed : 
he would not be called before the magistrates, 
threatened, talked impudently to, etc. But how 
terribly difficult I found it to pay the promised 
sums at the appointed dates ! What artifices I 
had to employ, to borrow money from relations, 
to pawn our things ! We had to deny ourselves 
and our family primary necessities in order to be 
able to fulfil my obligations. Indeed, the money 
we received was never regular. It depended alto- 
gether on the success of the work, and with us, as 
the saying goes, it was 4 either plenty or nothing.' 
We had to run into arrears for the flat, to take 
credit from the grocer's shop, to pawn things, and 
when we happened to receive money (400 or 500 
roubles at a time), usually on the day after the 
receipt of the money (Fiodor Mihailovich always 
gave all the money to me) there remained 25 or 
30 roubles only. My rule was, on receipt of the 
money, to redeem the things from the pawnbrokers 
(I had pledged things to the amount of 400 roubles), 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 139 

firstly, so as not to pay interest, which was enormous 
then, sometimes 5 per cent, per month ; and, secondly, 
in order that the pawnbroker's shop * should know 
that I was capable of redeeming my things and 
so should keep them safe. Besides this, I had a 
certain moral satisfaction in the knowledge that 
the things, of which I was so fond (all presents 
from Fiodor Mihailovich, my mother, and brother) 
were again in the house, if only for a short while. 
The visits of the creditors, and my negotiations 
with them, at times did not pass unnoticed by my 
dear husband. He would ask me, who had called, 
and on what business, and seeing my reluctance to 
tell him, he would reproach me for my reserve, 
for my not being quite frank with him. His com- 
plaints on such occasions he also expressed in his 
letters. But how could I be perfectly frank with 
him in these material difficulties of mine ! For 
the sake of his health and of his work, on which 
our whole existence depended, he needed peace : 
worries upset him terribly and provoked his epi- 
leptic fits, which prevented him from working. It 
was a kind of [a word missing in the MS.]. 
Moreover, when he occasionally learnt what un- 
pleasant things I had to suffer, Fiodor Mihailovich 
began to grieve over the fact that he had given 

1 At that time there did not exist monts-de-piete, or societies for 
lending money on movables, but there were pawnbrokers' shops, 
mostly kept by Jews. 



140 DOSTOEVSKY 

me a life so full of cares and distress. And this 
again agitated and distressed him. And, with all 
my sincere desire to be frank with him — I had, 
after all, to conceal from him assiduously every- 
thing that might upset him, even at the risk of 
being reproached for my so-called reserve and lack 
of candour. How bitterly I felt those unjust 
reproaches ! Yes, I had to endure a hard, a ter- 
ribly hard life in the material sense during the 
twelve or thirteen years of our married life ; for 
only in the year before Fiodor Mihailovich's death 
were all our debts paid, and I was able to put by 
small sums for the rainy day. 

I remember with great bitterness of heart how 
unceremoniously certain relations of Fiodor Mihailo- 
vich's dragged money from our pocket for their 
own needs. However small our means, Fiodor 
Mihailovich did not consider it possible to refuse 
assistance to his brother Nicolay Mihailovich, or 
to his stepson Pavel Alexandrovich Isayev, and in 
urgent cases also to his other relations. Apart from 
a fixed monthly allowance (50 or 60 roubles), 4 brother 
Kolya ' received every time he paid us a visit 
five roubles ; and what bitterness I felt when he, 
perhaps not without interested motives, increased 
his visits under various pretexts : to congratulate 
the children on their birthdays, to inquire after 
the health of every one of our family, and so on. 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 141 

It was not miserliness that was responsible for this 
bitterness, but the painful consciousness that there 
were only twenty roubles in the house at the 
moment. Yet Fiodor Mihailovich would call me 
and say : * Anechka, give me five roubles for 
Kolya ' ; when on the following day there was a 
payment due to some one, and if I could keep the 
five roubles, I should not have to go again to the 
pawnbroker's shop. But ' brother Kolya ' was a 
pleasant and appealing person, and although at 
times I was angry with him for his repeated visits, 
I was always fond of him and valued his delicacy. 
The man who particularly irritated me was Pavel 
Alexandrovich Isayev. He did not ask, he de- 
manded, and was perfectly convinced that he had 
a right to demand. Every time Fiodor Mihailo- 
vich received a large sum of money he gave Isayev 
without fail a considerable amount for his family. 
But Isayev very often had extra needs, and on 
these occasions he went straight for relief to Fiodor 
Mihailovich, although he knew perfectly well how 
hard our life was. He would come, and this is 
roughly the conversation which would take place. 

He : ' Well, how is papa ? How is his health ? I 
must see him, I am in urgent need of forty roubles.' 

I : ' Pavel Alexandrovich, you know we have 
not yet received money from Katkov ; we have 
no money at all. To-day I had to pawn my 



142 DOSTOEVSKY 

brooch for twenty-five roubles.' I show him the 
pawnbroker's ticket. 

He : ' Well, pawn something else.' 

1 : 4 But I have already pawned everything, and 
here are the proofs.' 

He : • But I must have the money for this.' 

I : ' Buy it when we get the money.' 

He : ' I can't postpone getting it.' 

I : • But I have no money.' 

He : ' That is no business of mine — get it.' 

And then I would begin persuading, coaxing 
Isayev to ask Fiodor Mihailovich not for 40 roubles, 
which I had not got, but for 15 roubles, so that I 
might be left with five in any case. Isayev after 
much coaxing would compromise, and consider 
that he was doing me a great favour by being 
satisfied with a smaller amount than he had origin- 
ally asked for. Then my dear husband would call 
me to his study and say : ' Please, Anechka, give 
me 15 roubles, Pasha asks me for it.' And I would 
give the money with an unfriendly feeling, knowing 
that, if Isayev had not extorted this amount, we 
could have lived for three days in peace, and now 
I had to go again to-morrow to the pawnbroker 
and to pawn something else. All these are painful 
recollections, and I cannot forget how much dis- 
tress that rude man caused me. Perhaps it may be 
asked why I did not resolutely protest against his 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 143 

rudeness. But to make such a protest I should 
have had to quarrel with Isayev and his family ; 
whereas I had taken a sincere liking to his wife and 
was sorry for her. Besides, I knew this trait in 
Fiodor Mihailovich's character : his good, sympa- 
thetic attitude to all who were wronged. In case 
of a quarrel Isayev might have moved Fiodor 
Mihailovich to pity, and presented himself as un- 
justly treated by me. And Fiodor Mihailovich, 
just because he was good, would undoubtedly have 
believed him and considered him an unhappy man 
to be pitied and helped. I had had experience of 
this once already when on one occasion I had a 
quarrel with Isayev. The latter immediately 
complained of me to Fiodor Mihailovich, repre- 
sented the whole thing in a distorted light and 
reminded Fiodor Mihailovich of the request which 
his, Isayev's, mother had made to him ' to love 
Pasha.' It ended in this, that Fiodor Mihailovich 
asked me ' not to wrong Pasha, since although he 
was light-minded, yet he was a pleasant man, and 
was very fond of us all.' To safeguard Fiodor 
Mihailovich's peace I preferred to suffer myself 
and to deny myself everything, provided peace was 
preserved in our family. 

I go back to the winter of 1871-1872, the first 
winter after our return from abroad, I must say 



144 DOSTOEVSKY 

that, in spite of the worries caused us by our 
creditors, I remember that winter with real pleasure. 
The mere fact that we were again in our own country, 
amongst Russians and everything Russian, gave me 
unusual happiness. Fiodor Mihailovich, too, was 
satisfied with his return to Russia and with the 
possibility of meeting his friends again, and observ- 
ing Russian life, with which he felt himself out of 
touch. In addition to meeting again Apollon 
Nicolayevich Maikov, with whom he had been 
friends since their youth, and N. N. Strahov, his 
favourite companion, — Fiodor Mihailovich made 
the acquaintance, — through his visits to his relation 
M. I. Vladislavlev, — of many scholars, as for in- 
stance, V. V. Grigoriev. He also made the acquaint- 
ance of Prince V. P. Meschersky, of T. I. Filippov, 
and of the whole circle that used to meet at 
Meschersky's dinners on Wednesdays. There, I 
believe, he also met, and later became friends with 
K. P. Pobiedonoszev, and this friendship con- 
tinued right down to Fiodor's death. I remember 
that during that winter N. Y. Danilevsky also came 
to Petersburg. Fiodor Mihailovich who had known 
him in his young days as a Fourierist, and who 
greatly valued his book Russia and Europe, wished 
to renew the old friendship. Having met him at 
Strahov's, Fiodor Mihailovich asked him to lunch 
at our house where many interesting and clever 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 145 

people assembled. The conversation went on till 
late in the evening. 

That same winter Tretiakov asked Fiodor 
Mihailovich's permission to have his portrait 
painted for the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow. For 
this purpose the artist Perov arrived from Moscow. 
Fiodor Mihailovich was certainly flattered, the 
more so that Perov turned out to be an extremely 
nice and simple man. Before setting to work 
Perov visited us daily for a week, and found Fiodor 
Mihailovich in various moods. He talked to him, 
discussed matters with him, and was thus able to 
catch and to embody in the portrait Fiodor Mihailo- 
vich's most characteristic expression, namely, the 
one Fiodor had when absorbed in his creative work. 
I may say that Perov managed to convey in the 
portrait Fiodor' s ' moment of creation.' That ex- 
pression I noticed many times in Fiodor's face 
when I happened to enter his study. I used to 
watch him * looking into himself,' and to leave the 
room without saying a word. Afterwards I would 
learn that Fiodor was so absorbed in his thoughts 
that he had not noticed my entering the room, and 
did not believe I had been there. Perov was a 
clever man, and Fiodor loved talking to him. I 
also became friends with him and was always 
present at the sittings. That winter I did not go 

into society. I myself nursed my elder son Fedya, 

к 




146 DOSTuEVSKY 

and I could not well leave him alone for long. In 
fact I was so busy with the children, with working 
for Fiodor and with the house, that that happy 
winter passed like a dream. There came the 
spring of 1872, and with it a whole series of 
misfortunes, which left behind unforgettable 
consequences. 

Fiodor Mihailovich's fits of jealousy very much 
grieved and tormented me. The most exasperat- 
ing thing was that his jealousy had no grounds 
whatsoever ; yet its manifestations placed me at 
times in an absurd position. I shall describe one 
such case. I have already mentioned that I 
dreamt of earning money by my shorthand and 
thus of assisting the family. An occasion of using 
my knowledge unexpectedly presented itself. In 
1872 a conference of farmers was to take place in 
the city of Novo-Alexandria or Lomzha, and a 
shorthand-writer was needed for the conference. 
I was informed of this by my brother, a former 
student of the Petrovsky Agricultural School, who 
continued to take an interest in farming. Since 
the choice of a shorthand-writer depended on 
Professor Shafranov, I wrote to him, with the 
permission of my husband. Fiodor Mihailovich 
always maintained that in looking after the children 
and the house and in assisting him in his work, I 
was doing quite enough for the family ; but knowing 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 147 

my ardent desire to earn some money by other 
means he hesitated to oppose me, in the expectation 
(as he admitted to me later) that the post would 
already have been filled. Professor Shafranov re- 
plied that he agreed to recommend me and com- 
municated the terms. True, they were not very 
tempting, and the greater part of the money would 
have been spent on the journey and on my stay in 
Alexandria. But to me it was not so much the 
money that mattered as the start I had made in 
getting work. If I did this work successfully, I 
could, relying on Professor Shafranov's recom- 
mendation, get more. Fiodor Mihailovich had no 
serious objections to the journey ; for my mother 
had promised to come to live with us during my 
absence and to look after the children and the 
house. Fiodor Mihailovich himself had no work 
for me at that time ; he was busy re-shaping the 
plan of his novel The Possessed. My intended 
journey obviously did not please him, and he tried 
to find various pretexts for my giving it up. How 
could I, a young woman, go by myself to a strange 
place, especially a Polish place ? How would I 
live there, etc. etc. ? My brother, who used often 
to come to see me, suggested that in order to re- 
solve his doubts, Fiodor and I should go to see him 
the following evening, and promised to invite a 
friend of his (whose name I do not remember now, 



148 DOSTOEVSKY 

but it ended with 4 kyants ' or ' idse,' 1 who had 
been several times in Alexandria and who was also 
going to the conference. We decided to do so. 
Next day Fiodor Mihailovich and myself went off 
to see my brother; and Fiodor Mihailovich, who 
had not been troubled by his epileptic fits for a 
long time, was in an excellent mood. We were 
having a quiet talk when suddenly there rushed 
in, almost at a run, a young man of about twenty- 
three, tall, with curly hair, with unusually protrud- 
ing eyes and red lips, the type that is everywhere 
recognised as 4 disgustingly handsome.' Entering 
and seeing his c god ' he became so confused that 
he hardly bowed to Fiodor or to the hostess, but 
gave all his attention to me (evidently, an earthly 
creature like himself), seized my hand, kissed it, 
shook it vigorously several times, saying in his 
lisping voice, that he was extremely delighted that 
I was going to the conference and that he was eager 
to be of service to me. His exaltation struck me 
as comic, and I put it down to his shyness and con- 
fusion. But this was not Fiodor Mihailovich's 

1 I had never seen that 'kyants' before, but knew of him by 
report. He was a nice, not particularly clever, Caucasian youth, 
whom his friends, on account of his passionate temper and impetu- 
osity, called 'the wild Asiatic' He was much hurt by that nick- 
name, and to prove that he was a European, he created to himself in 
each art a 'god.' In music his 'god' was Wagner; in painting, 
Ryepin ; and in literature, Dostoevsky. Hearing that he was going 
to make Dostoevsky's acquaintance and might render him a service, 
the youth was in a state of perfect bliss. 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 149 

way of looking at it. Although he himself rarely 
kissed the hands of ladies and attached no signifi- 
cance to it at all, he was always displeased if some 
one applied this form of politeness to myself. And 
the young man's attitude irritated him extremely. 
My brother, who noticed that Fiodor Mihailovich's 
mood had changed (and his fluctuations from one 
mood into another were very rapid), hastened to 
start a business-like conversation about the con- 
ference ; but the youth was still confused and 
replied neither to my brother's questions nor to 
those of Fiodor Mihailovich, but addressed himself 
exclusively to me. To my question : Was it a 
difficult journey and would there be many changes 
of train before we reached Alexandria ? the young 
man replied that I was not to worry, that he was 
willing to come with me there, and that if I liked, 
he would travel in the same car as myself. I 
certainly declined his offer, saying that I would 
manage it all myself. To Fiodor Mihailovich's 
question whether there was a hotel there and would 
it be a suitable place for a young woman to stop at, 
the young man, still without venturing to look at 
his c god,' and addressing me, exclaimed : 4 But if 
Anna Gregorevna wishes, I could stop at the same 
hotel with her ; — although I meant to stay with a 
friend.' 

4 Anya, do you hear, Anya ? The young man 



150 DOSTOEVSKY 

agrees to stop at the same hotel with you. But this 
is ex-cel-lent ! ' Fiodor Mihailovieh cried out in 
his full voice, and struck the table with all the 
strength of his fist. The glass of tea that stood on 
the table went flying on the floor and was smashed 
to smithereens ; the hostess rushed to support the 
lamp that shook from the blow, and Fiodor Mihailo- 
vieh jumped up, rushed to the hall, threw his over- 
coat on and disappeared. I rushed after him, 
crying : ' Fedya, what 's the matter ? Fedya, 
come here ' ; but there was not a trace of him. 
Instantly I went to put on my cloak, but it took 
some time, and when I came out of the gate I saw 
a man in the distance running in the opposite 
direction to our usual walk home. So I had to 
run ; and as I had young legs, in five minutes I over- 
took Fiodor Mihailovieh, who by that time was out 
of breath and could not run as quickly. I hailed 
him several times and asked him to stop ; but he 
refused to hear me. At last I managed to overtake 
him ; I ran in front of him, seized with both my 
hands the skirts of his overcoat that he had thrown 
over his shoulders, and exclaimed : ' Fedya, you 
are going mad. Where are you running? This 
is not our way home. Wait, put your arms into 
the sleeves. You must not walk like that, you '11 
catch a cold.' My voice and agitated appearance 
had an effect on Fiodor Mihailovieh ; he stopped 






REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 151 

and put on the coat with my assistance ; I buttoned 
it up, took his arm, and led him in the opposite 
direction. Fiodor Mihailovich, although he did all 
I told him, yet preserved a troubled expression. 
I lost my temper and said : ' Well, you have been 
jealous, haven't you ? You think I managed to 
fall in love with "the wild Asiatic " in a couple of 
minutes, and he with me, and we were going to 
elope, were we not ? Now you ought to be ashamed 
of yourself ! ' . . . And I began remonstrating 
with my poor husband, explaining how much he 
offended me by his jealousy. ' Why, haven't we 
been married for six years ? Don't you know how 
I love you and value our family happiness ? And 
you are capable of being jealous of the first fellow 
I meet and of placing me in a ridiculous position, 
etc., etc' As my reproaches went on, Fiodor 
Mihailovich tried to apologise and to justify him- 
self, and promised never to be jealous of me. But 
I took no notice of all this. In a word, I got from 
him all the amends that an ' infuriated wife ' could 
get. But I could not be cross for long with my 
dear husband. Having got into a temper and said 
all sorts of absurdities, I cooled down quickly, and 
I felt terribly sorry for Fiodor Mihailovich, the 
more so that I knew that he could not restrain 
himself in a fit of jealousy. Seeing the change in 
my mood, he began laughing at himself, inquired 



152 DOSTOEVSKY 

how many things he had spoilt to-night at my 
brother's, and whether he hadn't incidentally given 
my rapturous admirer a hiding. It ended in our 
making peace on our way home, and as it was a 
wonderful evening we walked all the way. The 
incident did not pass without his buying Turkish 
Delight and smoked sturgeon. 1 It was a long way, 
and with our calls at the shops, it took us an hour 
and a half. On coming home, I found my brother 
there. Poor Ivan Gregorevich, seeing our flight, 
had imagined God knows what ; he rushed off to 
us, and was astonished at finding neither myself 
nor Fiodor Mihailovich at home. Before our 
arrival he passed a whole hour in dark thoughts 
and presentiments ; and how surprised he was 
when he saw us arrive home in the most amicable 
mood. We treated him to tea and sturgeon ; and 
there was much laughter. To my question how he 
explained our strange flight to the young man, Ivan 
Gregorevich answered : ' When he asked what was 
the matter, I said : " Damn you ! Can't you see 
it yourself ? " ' 

The story ended happily ; but I understood that 
I had to give up my journey. Certainly I could 

1 When little differences arose between us, and Fiodor felt himself 
in the wrong, but did not want to apologise, he would bring me a 
present — a pound of Turkish Delight or smoked sturgeon (my 
favourite), or both articles together, in proportion to the offence. I 
called this 'the olive branch,' and threatened to quarrel with him 
more often, so as to get these good things the oftener. 



REMINISCENCES BY HIS WIFE 153 

have persuaded Fiodor Mihailovich, and he would 
have let me go ; but then he would have begun to 
get agitated, he would not have held out, but would 
have rushed after me to Alexandria. It would 
have resulted only in a scandal, and in the waste 
of money, of which we had so little. 

Thus ended my attempt to earn a living by 
shorthand. 



F. M. DOSTOEVSKY'S LETTERS TO HIS 
WIFE (ON THE POUSHKIN CELEBRA- 
TION OF 1880 IN MOSCOW) 



(Just published in the original, from the hitherto un- 
published materials in the Russian State Archives, by 
the Department of the Central Archives, Moscow, 1922) 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 

INTRODUCTION BY N. BELCHIKOV 

Dostoevsky's letters to his wife on the Poushkin Cele- 
bration of 1880 in Moscow, when he, on behalf of 
the Slav Charitable Society, delivered his famous 
speech 1 of June 8, 1880, are published from the 
originals, found amongst Dostoevsky's letters to his 
wife. The Department of the Central Archives took 
these letters from the State safes, together with other 
documents and materials relating to the works of 
Dostoevsky, in November 1921. 2 

F. M. Dostoevsky's letters to Anna Gregorevna were 
kept by her in a buckram wallet which contained 
eleven medium-sized packets. Those on the Poushkin 
Celebration were in a special packet (the eleventh), on 
the front of which is inscribed in his wife's handwriting 
a list of them and their dates. 

In his wife's own Notebook (one hundred and 
eighty -seven numbered pages), entitled by her, 
1 Explanations of domestic affairs and instructions by 

1 Dostoevsky's speech on Poushkin is contained in Pages from the 
Journal of an Author, by F. M. Dostoevsky, translated by S. S. 
Koteliansky and J. Middleton Murry, published by Maunsel & Co., 
Dublin. 

2 An English translation of some of this material has recently 
appeared, published by the Hogarth Press, entitled Stavrogin's 
Confession. 

157 



158 DOSTOEVSKY 

Anna Gregorevna Dostoevsky in case of my death or 
of a serious illness — March 1902, and for the years 
following ' (on the binding of which is written, ' en cas 
de ma mort ou une maladie grave '), she expresses on 
pp. 23-24, relating to ' The Letters of the late Fiodor 
Mihailovich Dostoevsky to me from 1867-1880/ the 
following wish : ' Dostoevsky 's letters to me, as 
being of great literary and public interest, may 
be published after my death in a review or in book 
form. ... If they cannot be published as a whole, 
then those relating to the Poushkin Celebration should 
be chosen.' 

Anna Gregorevna defined the significance of these 
letters absolutely correctly. In them is a clear picture 
of those days when men of different views gathered 
together round Poushkin's statue to give voice to their 
sincere opinion of those ideals for which Poushkin 
stood. 

Dostoevsky reveals the struggle of the two irre- 
concilable tendencies of the social ideas and ideals of 
that period, and he points out his part in it and the 
significance of his own utterance. We see, too, the 
active and impatient party spirit of his contempor- 
aries. On May 28-29, 1880, he writes to his wife : 
* Remain here I must and I have decided to remain. . . . 
The chief point is that I am needed here not only by 
the " Lovers of Russian Literature," but by our whole 
party, by our whole idea, for which we have been 
fighting these thirty years. For the hostile party 
(Turgenev, Kovalevsky, and nearly the whole Univer- 
sity) is quite determined to belittle Poushkin's signifi- 
cance as the representative of the Russian nation, and 
thereby to deny the very nation itself.' And further, 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 159 

explaining why his presence is absolutely necessary : 
1 Against them, on our side, we have only Ivan Sergue- 
yevich Aksakov (Yuriev and the rest have no weight), 
but Ivan Aksakov has grown rather out of date and 
Moscow is rather bored by him. Myself, however, 
Moscow has not heard nor seen, and it is in me alone 
that the people are interested. My voice will have 
weight, and thus our side will triumph. All my life I 
have been fighting for this ; I can't run away from the 
field of battle now. When Katkov, who on the whole 
is not a Slavophil, says to me : " You mustn't go away, 
you can't go away," then, certainly, stay I must.' 

Nobody thought, of course, of belittling Poushkin's 
significance. It was a false deduction of Dostoevsky's, 
due to his party bias and his belief that the real truth 
was only on the lips and in the consciousness of the 
men of his group. Without having yet seen Turgenev, 
or the other Westerners, Dostoevsky already held fast 
to that idea. Indeed, still further anticipating this 
difference of opinion, he wrote the following to K. P. 
Pobiedonoszev on May 19> 1880, before he left for 
Moscow : ' I am obliged to go to Moscow for the 
unveiling of the Poushkin memorial. And it turns out, 
as I had foreseen, that I am going not for pleasure, but 
perhaps even for immediate unpleasantness. For the 
point at issue involves my most cherished and funda- 
mental convictions. While still in Petersburg I heard 
that in Moscow there is a certain clique which is 
trying to proscribe opinions contrary to its own at 
the Anniversary, and that it fears certain reactionary 
words.' 

P. Bartenev preserved the following curious touch 
in his Reminiscences (Russky Arlchiv, 1891, vol. ii. p. 97, 



160 DOSTOEVSKY 

note) : ' Although Dostoevsky's speech was not known 
to any one before he delivered it, yet at one of the 
sittings of the Preparations Committee it was nearly 
decided not to allow Dostoevsky to read anything at 
the Poushkin Commemoration. Several members of 
the Committee insisted on his non-admittance, saying 
that Dostoevsky had insulted Turgenev at a public 
dinner in Petersburg, by asking the latter point-blank 
and so loud that all could hear, what he wanted from 
our students, thereby putting the famous friend of the 
young generation in an awkward and embarrassing 
position. But this time the majority of the members 
of the Committee did not permit this ostracism. The 
discussions, however, were fiery/ 

Dostoevsky, in his letter to his wife of June 5, refers 
to the friction among the parties, as something that, 
in his view, threatened trouble. ' Ostrovsky, the local 
Jupiter, came up to me. Turgenev, very amiable, ran 
up. The other liberal groups, amongst them Plesche- 
yev and even the lame Yazykov, bear themselves with 
reserve and almost haughtily, as if to say : You are a 
reactionary, but we are radicals. And, generally, 
complete dissension is already begun. I am afraid 
that all these different tendencies existing side by side 
for so many days may end in a fight/ 

Behind the struggle between these social groups and 
their tendencies we discern the desire of the ambitious 
Dostoevsky for his own success. In his letter of May 
27-28 he writes : ' If my speech at the solemn opening 
is successful, then in Moscow (and therefore in all 
Russia) I shall henceforth be more famous as a writer, 
I mean famous in the sense in which Turgenev and 
Tolstoy have already won greatness/ 






LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 161 

Dostoevsky's speech had an extraordinary success. 
It was applauded equally by Aksakov, considered the 
leader of the Slavophils, and by Turgenev, the head of 
the Westerners. 

Ivan Sergueyevich Aksakov in a letter to his wife 
(June 14, 1880), on the Moscow celebrations, thus sums 
up his impression of Dostoevsky's fiery eloquence : 
1 On the next day, June 8, Dostoevsky was to read 
(thus had we divided it between ourselves, knowing the 
similarity of our ideals) ; but seeing his nervous 
agitation I proposed that he should read first. He 
read, read masterfully, such a superb original thing, 
comprehending the national question still more widely 
and deeply than my article, and not merely in the form 
of a logical exposition, but in real and living images, 
with the art of a novelist ; the impression was indeed 
overwhelming. I have never seen anything like it. 
It gripped everybody 5 both the public and all of us 
who sat on the platform, even, to a certain extent, 
Turgenev. (They cannot bear one another.) Dostoev- 
sky's success is a genuine portent. He completely 
overshadowed Turgenev and all his disciples. Hitherto 
Turgenev has been the idol of the younger generation ; 
in all his public speeches there were subtle allusions 
of a vague radical kind, which created a furore. He 
has always subtly flattered the young ; and the very 
day before, speaking of Poushkin, he praised Bielinsky, 
and gave us to understand that he also was very fond 
of Nekrasov, etc. But Dostoevsky went straight and 
defiantly to the point : he maintained that Bielinsky 
understood nothing of Tatyana [the heroine of Poush- 
kin's Eugene Oniegin] ; put his finger straight on 
Socialism ; gave the young a whole sermon : " humble 

L 



162 DOSTOEVSKY 

thyself, proud man, cease to be a wanderer in foreign 
lands, seek the truth in thyself, not outward truth," 
etc. Tatyana, whom Bielinsky (and all the new gener- 
ation after him) called " a moral embryo " because she 
fulfilled her duty of faithfulness, Dostoevsky, on the 
contrary, exalted ; and he put directly to the public 
the moral question : " Can personal happiness be 
created out of the unhappiness of another ? " 

1 It was indeed remarkable how the young men, of 
whom there were perhaps a thousand in the hall, took 
that speech. They all went into such raptures that 
one young man rushed up to Dostoevsky on the 
platform, and fell into a nervous swoon. There were 
present girl-students from Gerye's school (an extreme 
Westerner), who only last year were wild about Tur- 
genev. At the meeting they produced a laurel crown, 
from Heaven knows where, and presented it, amid 
universal applause, to Dostoevsky, for which they wil 
probably have to pay dearly. 

* One must remember, too, that Dostoevsky has the 
reputation of a " mystic," not a positivist, but a believer 
here he even mentioned Christ. In a word, the 
triumph of our tendency in the person of Dostoevskj 
was complete, and all the speeches of the men of tht 
so-called " forties " appeared mere rubbish. The 
excitement was so great that a long adjournment wa: 
necessary/ (Russky Arkhiv, 1891, vol. ii. pp. 96-97.) 

Dostoevsky himself, still under the fresh impressioi 
of the ecstasy aroused by his fiery speech, believed ii 
its great effect : ' It is a great victory for our idea ove 
the twenty-five years of delusions. ... A complete 
a most complete victory ! ' (Letter to his wife 
June 8.) 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 163 

In a letter written to Countess S. A. Tolstoy (the 
wife of Alexey K. Tolstoy, the poet), on June IS, 1880, 
the day after his return from Moscow, Dostoevsky 
relates similar curious details concerning the impression 
produced by his inspired speech : ' Would you believe 
it . . . after my speech crowds of people in the audience 
wept, and embraced one another and vowed to one 
another henceforth to be better men. This was not a 
single case — I heard a number of accounts from persons 
even perfectly unknown to me, who crowded closely 
round me and spoke to me in frenzied tones (literally) 
of the impression my speech had made on them. Two 
greybeards came up to me and one of them said : " For 
twenty years we have been enemies and for twenty 
years we have done harm to one another ; after your 
speech, we have now become reconciled, and have 
come to tell you." They were perfect strangers to me. 
There were many such declarations, and I was so over- 
whelmed and exhausted that I myself was as ready to 
fall down in a swoon, just like the student whom his 
friends had at that moment brought to me and who 
through ecstasy fell before me on the floor in a swoon. 
. . . And what a lot of women came to me to the Loskut- 
naya Hotel (some did not give their names) with the 
sole object of pressing and kissing my hands, when 
left alone with me.' (Viestnik Europa, No. 1, 1908, pp. 
215-18.) 

Indeed, there was genuine ecstasy ; there was a 
wave of impulse, and on the immediate wave men of 
various ' faiths ' came together : all were seized by one 
feeling — the wise Turgenev, the well-balanced Annen- 
kov, the calm Aksakov. But, of course, there was no 
complete reconciliation, no meeting of roads, no fusion 



164 DOSTOEVSKY 

of ideas. Victory there was, but a temporary one 
It was impossible to fuse together the social and idea 
currents, so different in their essence, represented Ъ 
Turgenev and Dostoevsky, and the unprecedente< 
days of unanimous rapture were short-lived. Th< 
Viestnik Europa was right in not trusting too much t< 
this elated mood of reconciliation when it declared 01 
the occasion of Dostoevsky 's speech that ' the signi 
ficance of Poushkin was estimated not so much in th< 
spirit of calm historical criticism, as with an ecstati< 
feeling of worship, which corresponded to the mood о 
the moment. Dostoevsky even said that Poushkii 
was a prophet, and his poetry — the transformation о 
the future of Russia, when the Russian people wil 
announce the truth to all mankind. With us, as w< 
know, all public infatuations take the form of seizures 
which pass quickly away, leaving behind them at time 
a remarkably weak impression/ All fused together 
but did not really unite, in the seizure of enthusiasm fo 
the mighty and profound speech of Dostoevsky, wh< 
manifested a width of outlook never attained by Tur 
genev. Dostoevsky 's speech, as Aksakov said, was ai 
' event/ but it was not the cement which could bin» 
life together. 

The Liberal Press, immediately the speech wa 
published, regarded it critically ; and only a mont 
later Dostoevsky himself had to undergo a feeling с 
disappointment with his contemporaries. While th 
raptures were still sounding, the Viestnik Europa cease 
to share the general exultation and coldly observed 
1 We think that Dostoevsky 's statement of the futur 
or even the present superiority of the Russian peopl 
over all the rest of the world, has, to begin with, th 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 165 

lefect ; it is an example, and by no means a new one, of 
lational self-glorification.' The attitude of the Oteche- 
tvennya Zapiski was still more severe. In that journal 

jleb Ivanovich Uspensky, giving a hasty account of his 
mpressions of the Poushkin Celebration, wrote : 

Immediately after the speech M. Dostoevsky was 
ewarded not only with ovations, but with adoration/ 
md he concluded his article thus : ' It is difficult to 
inderstand one who in himself reconciles such contra- 
lictions, and it will not be surprising if his speech, when 
t appears in the press and is carefully read, produces 
i quite different impression.' And so it happened. 
Jspensky himself, after reading the published speech, 
mswered it more resolutely in an article in the Oteche- 
tivennya Zapiski entitled ' On the next day.' * In 
M. Dostoevsky 's words, the connection between the 
' wanderer " and the people is indissoluble ; his purely 
lational traits are indubitable ; everything in him is 
national, everything is historically inevitable, according 
to law. Now, basing myself on these assertions, I 
reported Dostoevsky 's speech, as it was published 
in my Letter from Moscow, rejoicing not at the 
11 universal bird in the hand " which M. Dostoevsky 
promises to the Russian people in the future, but 
only at this, that certain phenomena of Russian fife 
are beginning to be cleared up in a human sense, 
being measured in " the scale of mankind," not with 
maliciousness, as it has been in the past, but with a 
certain carefulness which has been lacking hitherto. 
But M. Dostoevsky, as it turns out, had a different 
design. 

' From the passages of his speech which I quoted, 
the reader could already get an occasional glimpse of 



166 DOSTOEVSKY 

the u omni " hare. 1 Here and there, as if unintention- 
ally, the word " perhaps " is stuck in ; here and there 
is thrust, also as though accidentally, in the same 
breath, " for ever " and " for a long time." Such hare 
leaps make it possible for the author gradually to turn 
all Poushkin's " fantastic work " into the most ordinary 
doctrine of complete stagnation. Little by little, from 
hillock to hillock, by leaps and bounds, the " omni " 
hare reaches an impassable copse, in which his tail is 
no longer seen. At this point it appeared, for the 
reader somewhat imperceptibly, that Aleko [a Poushkin 
character], who, as we know, is a purely national type, 
is expelled by the people because he is not national. 
In the same way the national type of wanderer, Oniegin, 
is dismissed by Tatyana for the same reason. It turns 
out somehow that all these human-wanderer-national 
traits are negative traits. One more leap, and the 
" omni-human " man is transformed into " a blade of 
grass borne by the wind," into a visionary uprooted 
from the soil. " Humble thyself" — cries the threaten- 
ing voice — " happiness is not beyond the seas." What 
does this all mean ? What remains then of the 
" universal bird in the hand " ? 

' There remains Tatyana, the key and solution of all 
the " fantastic work." It turns out that Tatyana is 
the very prophetic character for which all the com- 
motion began. She is prophetic for this reason. 
Having driven away the " omni-human " Oniegin 
because he was uprooted from the soil, she lets herselJ 
be devoured by the old General (since she cannot build 
her personal happiness on the unhappiness of another) 

1 The reference is to the claim of ' omni-human ' significance mad< 
for Poushkin by Doatoeveky in his speech. 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 167 

although she still loves the wanderer. Admirable : she 
sacrifices herself. But alas ! it now appears that her 
sacrifice is not voluntary : " I am given unto another ! " 
To be hired is to be sold. It turns out that her mother 
forced her to marry the old boy, and the old boy, 
married to a young girl, who did not want to marry 
him — the old boy could not help knowing it — is called 
in the speech an " honest man." The speech does not 
say what the mother is like. Probably she, too, is a 
sort of " omni-human." Behold to what a homily of 
forced and stupid and coarse sacrifice the author 
has been driven by his abundance of hare-leap 
ideas.' 

The Slovo was still more severe. ' The most surpris- 
ing thing in Dostoevsky 's speech is that, having taken 
his audience off its guard by this " omni-humanity " 
and universality of the Russians, having obtained 
ovations for this conjuring trick which was not seen 
through at first, Dostoevsky most crudely and bitterly 
jeered at this " omni-human " Russian. We do not 
think that Dostoevsky can deny that he created a 
furore chiefly because it was extremely gratifying to 
his audience to know that they bear in their hearts the 
ideal of universality and omni-humanity, as their 
special and specific essence. In our view, neither the 
public nor Dostoevsky need much praise for this ; for 
arrogating exclusively to themselves a quality so 
tremendous, which is inherent in all European peoples. 
It is unjust and extremely egotistical, just as egotistical, 
as, for instance, the denial of the rights of man to the 
peasants during the time of serfdom. The serf-owning 
landlords either completely deprived their peasants 
of many human qualities, or diminished those 



168 DOSTOEVSKY 

qualities to the utmost limit. And Dostoevsky (so 
it at first appeared) teaches Russian society to think 
of other people, as our landowners thought of 
their peasants. It actually appears, however, that 
Dostoevsky was sneering at the Russian aspirations to 
universality. . . .' 

Even Leontiev, the Conservative, as he calls himself 
in the preface to his article ' On Universal Love/ pub- 
lished in book form, replied to Dostoevsky 's speech 
with a long article, published in the Varshavsky Dnievnik 
( July- August 1880). ' In my opinion/ wrote Leontiev, 
1 Dostoevsky 's speech is a fiery, inspired, red-hot speech, 
but its foundations are utterly false, for it is illegitimate 
to confound so rashly and crudely as Dostoevsky did, 
the objective love of the poet, the love of a fine taste that 
needs variety, many-sidedness, an antithesis and even 
a tragical struggle, with moral love, with the feeling of 
mercy and the aspiration towards universal, monotonous 
meekness.' 

In its main theses Dostoevsky 's speech was most 
substantially criticised by the famous Petersburg 
professor Gradovsky (1841-89), jurist and publicist, a 
member of the staff of the Golos, in his article ' Dream 
and Reality ' (Golos, June 25, 1880). In a serious and 
interesting article he controverts Dostoevsky 's theses, 
and gives, in contrast to Dostoevsky, a comprehensive 
interpretation of the type of ' wanderer/ created by 
the social conditions. 

1 Above all it seems to us unproved/ wrote Gradovsky, 
' that the " wanderers " have dissociated themselves 
from the very being of the Russian people, that they 
have ceased to be Russians. Up till now the bounds of 
their negation have not been in the least defined ; the 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 169 

object of their negation has not been indicated. And 
until this is defined we have no right to pronounce a 
final verdict. 

1 Still less have we the right to define them as " proud 
men," and to see the cause of their estrangement in 
this sinning against the Holy Ghost. 

1 Dostoevsky has expressed the " holy of holies " of 
his convictions, that which is at once both the strength 
and the weakness of the author of The Brothers Kara- 
mazov. In his words is contained a great religious ideal, 
a mighty preaching of personal morality, but there is 
not a hint even of social ideals/ 

Gradovsky's criticisms were acute and irresistible. 
They made such a strong impression on Dostoevsky that 
he wrote his ' Answer to Gradovsky,' concerning which 
he writes to Pouzykovich on July 18, from Staraya 
Roussa : ' On May 20 I went to Moscow for the 
Poushkin Celebration — suddenly came the death of the 
Empress. The Celebration was continually postponed 
until June 6. In Moscow I had not even the time to 
sleep, — I was so continuously busy and surrounded by 
new people. Then came the Celebration and then, 
literally exhausted, I returned to Staraya Roussa. 
There I immediately sat down to the Karamazovs, 
wrote three folios, sent them off, and without having 
any rest, wrote straight off a whole number of The 
Journal of an Author (containing my speech), so as to 
publish it separately, as the only number (of The Journal 
of an Author) for this year. In it are also my answers 
to my critics, above all to Gradovsky. A new and 
unexpected turn showed itself in our society at the 
Poushkin anniversary (after my speech). But they 
have thrown themselves at it to diminish it and destroy 



170 DOSTOEVSKY 

it, because of their fear of the new mood in society, a 
mood which they call reactionary. It has become 
necessary to re-establish things and I have written 
an article, so exasperating, so purposely severing all 
connection with them that now they will curse me in 
the Seven Councils. Thus,' Dostoevsky concludes, ' in 
the single month after my return from Moscow I have 
written altogether literally six printed folios. Now 
I am done for and almost ill ' (Moskovsky Sbornik, edited 
by S. Sharapov, Moscow, 1887). 

A day before this, on July 17, Dostoevsky wrote 
to Elena Alexandrovna Stakenschneider the following 
lines : 

1 On June 111 returned from Moscow to Roussa, 
terribly tired, but I sat down to the Karamazovs 
immediately and wrote in one gulp three folios. After 
sending this off, I began to read all that had been 
written about me and my Moscow speech in the 
papers — I had read nothing of it till then, as I was busy 
working — and I decided to reply to Gradovsky, that is, 
not so much to Gradovsky, as to publish our complete 
profession of faith all over Russia : for the momentous 
and grand, the utterly new turn in the life of our 
society which showed itself at the Poushkin anniversary, 
has been maliciously erased and mutilated. In the 
Press, especially the Petersburg Press, they have 
become literally frightened of the utterly new thing, 
unlike anything that has been before, which declared 
itself in Moscow. For it means that society does not 
want only to sneer at Russia, only to spit on her ; it 
means that society persistently desires something 
different. The Westerners need to erase it all, to 
destroy, to sneer, to distort, and to reassure every one. 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 171 

There was nothing new in it ; it was only the usual 
complacency after a good Moscow dinner. We fed 
famously. While still in Moscow I decided, after 
having published my speech in the Moscowskya Viedo- 
mosti, to bring out in Petersburg one single number of 
The Journal of an Author — the only number for this 
year — and to publish in it my speech and a short preface 
which occurred to me literally at the very moment 
when I stood on the platform, immediately after my 
speech, and Turgenev and Annenkov also, together 
with Aksakov and others, rushed up to embrace me and, 
pressing my hands, told me over and over again that I had 
written a work of genius. Alas ! are they thinking the 
same of it now ? The thought of how they are taking 
it, now the raptures are over, forms the theme of my 
preface. The preface and speech I sent off to Peters- 
burg to the printers, and I already had the proofs when 
I suddenly made up my mind to write a new chapter 
for The Journal, a profession of faith, addressed to 
Gradovsky. It ran into two folios ; I have written it 
and put my whole soul in it, and to-day, only to-day, 
I 've sent it off to Moscow to the printers.' (Russky 
Arkhiv, vol. iii. pp. 307-8, 1891.) 

Dostoevsky made still more bitter confession con- 
cerning contemporary criticisms of his speech in a 
letter to O. F. Miller (August 26, 1880) : ' You see how 
I have got it from nearly all our Press for my speech in 
Moscow : it 's as though I 'd committed a theft, fraud, 
or forgery in a bank. Even on Yukhanzev (a notorious 
swindler of the time) they did not pour such filth as 
they 've poured on me.' (Dostoevski's Biography, etc., 
Petersburg, 1883, p. 343.) 



F. M. DOSTOEVSKY'S LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 
ANNA GREGOREVNA DOSTOEVSKY 

(During May and June, 1888, from Moscow, 
on the Poushkin Anniversary.) 



Moscow, May 23-24, 1880. 
My dearest friend Anya, you can't imagine how 
the news of the death of the Empress ups^t me. 
Peace to her soul, pray for her. I heard about it 
from the passengers in the train just after we left 
Novgorod. The thought struck me immediately 
that the Poushkin festivities might not take place. 
I even thought of returning home from Tchudov, 
but gave up the idea because I could not decide. 
I kept thinking 4 If there are no celebrations, then 
the memorial could be unveiled without celebra- 
tions, with just literary meetings and speeches.' 
Only on the 23rd when I bought the Moscowskya, 
Viedomosti as we left Tver, I read the announcement 
of Governor-General Dolgorouky, that the Sovereign 
had ordered the postponement of the unveiling of 
the memorial to another date. I thus arrived at 

172 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 173 

Moscow without any object whatsoever. I think 
of leaving on Tuesday the 28th at 9 o'clock in the 
morning. Till then I shall, at least, avail myself 
of the opportunity now that I am in Moscow and 
get to know something. I shall also see Lubimov 
and have a talk with him about the whole idea, also 
Katkov. I shall go the round of the booksellers, 
etc. If only I can manage it all ! I shall, at last, 
also learn all the ins and outs of these literary 
intrigues. I parted with Anna Nicolayevna in 
Tchudov ; we kissed each other cordially. She 
promised to come back if it is at all possible. It 
was a hot day. Literally I did not sleep a wink 
and I was tired and completely done up when I 
arrived at Moscow about 10 o'clock (Moscow time). 
At the station Yuriev, Lavrov, all the editorial 
staff and contributors of the Russkaya Mysl, 
Nicolay Aksakov, Barsov, and a dozen others 
were waiting to welcome me. We were introduced 
to one another. Immediately they asked me to 
come to Lavrov for a specially arranged supper. 
But I was so worn out by the journey, so unwashed, 
my linen, etc., so dirty that I refused. To-morrow, 
the 24th, at 2 o'clock, I shall go to see Yuriev. 
Lavrov said that the best and most comfortable 
hotel in Moscow was the ' Loskutnaya " (on the 
Tverskoy, close to the Square, close to the Church 
of Our Lady of Iversk), and he instantly rushed 



174 DOSTOEVSKY 

away and brought back with him a driver saying 
he was a cabman, but I don't believe he was a cab- 
man, but an expensive coachman or perhaps his 
own. When he put me down at the hotel, he 
refused any money, but I forced 70 kopecks on him. 
The ' Loskutnaya ' is full up, but they found a 
room for me at three roubles per day, very decently 
furnished ; but its windows face the court and a 
wall, so that I think it will be dark to-morrow. — I 
foresee that my speech cannot be published before 
I deliver it. It would be strange to publish it now. 
Thus, my journey will not pay for itself for the 
time being. It is now one o'clock in the morning. 
It is very hard to be without you three, without 
you and the dear children. 

I kiss you all a great deal, first you, and then 
Lilya and Fedya. Give them a big kiss from me 
and tell them that I love them awfully. Probably 
I shall not have time to get anything from the 
booksellers, for they will hardly settle accounts in 
two days. 

Good-bye for now. I wonder if I shall have a 
letter from you. Write care of Elena Pavlovna. 
I don't think you can answer this letter, however, 
as I should not get it before the 29th, and on the 
29th I want to be in Roussa. If you yourself have 
thought of writing to Elena Pavlovna, it would be 
splendid. If any misfortune happens (which God 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 175 

forbid) wire to me to the ' Loskutnaya,' on the 
Tverskoy, F. M. Dostoevsky. My room is No. 82. 
Once again I embrace all the three of you and kiss 
you many times. — Your F. Dostoevsky. 



II 

Loskutnaya, on the Tverskoy, 
Moscow, Sunday, May 25, 1880. 

My dear friend Anya, yesterday morning Lavrov, 
N. Aksakov, and a lecturer of the University called 
Zveriev, arrived on an official visit ; they came to 
present their respects. The same morning I had 
to return visits to all three. It took a long time 
driving about. After that I went to Yurie v. A 
rapturous reception with embraces. I learned that 
they wanted to petition that the unveiling of the 
memorial should be put off to the autumn, in October 
instead of June or July, as the authorities seem 
inclined to suggest ; but then the opening will be 
escamote, for no one will come. 

From Yuriev I could not get any sensible account 
of the progress of the affair ; he is a chaotic man, 
Repetilov in a new shape. [Repetilov — a char- 
acter from Griboyedov's play Sorrow through In- 
telligence.] Yet he is by no means a fool. (In- 
trigues there certainly were.) I mentioned, by the 
way, my article, and suddenly Yuriev said to me : 



176 DOSTOEVSKY 

4 I didn't ask for your speech ' (that is, for his 
magazine). Yet I remember that in his letters 
he did ask for it. The point is that Repetilov is 
sly : he does not want to take the speech now and 
pay for it. ' In the autumn, you give it us in the 
autumn ; to nobody else but us. We are the first 
to ask you, you see, and by that time you will have 
polished it more carefully.' (As much as to say 
that he knows exactly it is not carefully polished 
now.) It 's true I immediately stopped talking 
about the speech and promised it for the autumn, 
but only in a general way. I disliked the business 
awfully. — Then I went to Madame Novikov ; was 
received very graciously. After that — visits, then 
to Katkov : I found neither Katkov nor Lubimov 
at home. I went off to the booksellers. The two 
(Kashkins) have moved. They all promised to 
give me something on Monday. I wonder if they 
will. However, I am leaving on Monday and shall 
try to find out their new addresses. Afterwards 
I called on Aksakov. He is still in town, but I 
did not find him at home, but in the bank. Then, 
coming home, I dined. After this, at seven o'clock 
I drove to Katkov : I found both Katkov and 
Lubimov, was received very, very cordially, and I 
talked with Lubimov about the delivery of the 
Karamazovs. They insist very strongly on having 
it in June. (When I come back I shall have to 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 177 

work like the devil.) Afterwards I mentioned the 
speech, and Katkov pleaded with me to let him 
have it, that is, for the autumn. Being furious with 
Yuriev, I almost promised. So that now, should 
the Russkaya My si want the speech, I '11 make 
them pay through the nose for it, or it goes to 
Katkov. (The speech by that time can be made 
longer.) 

From Katkov's (where I upset a cup of tea over 
myself) I went to Varya. I found her in, and 
although it was about ten already we drove with 
her to Elena Pavlovna. Varya had just had a 
letter from brother Andrey (concerning the titles of 
nobility) to be handed over to me. I took the 
letter. Elena Pavlovna, as it turned out, had 
moved to another house ; she has given up keeping 
apartments. We went to the new house to pay 
her a visit and found there Masha and Nina Ivanov 
(with whom Elena Pavlovna has made it up), and 
Khmyrov. The Ivanovs are going in a couple of 
days to * Dorovoye,' Khmyrov is also going, as his 
wife is staying there with Vera Mihailovna. We 
sat there about an hour. Coming home, I found a 
letter, delivered in person by N. Aksakov and 
Lavrov : they invite me on the 25th (that is, to-day) 
to dinner and will call for me at 5 o'clock. The 
dinner is given by the contributors of the Russkaya 
Mysl, but others will be present as well. I think 

м 



178 DOSTOEVSKY 

there will be between fifteen to thirty guests, from 
Yurie v's hints (when I saw him). Apparently the 
dinner is being given to celebrate my visit, that is, 
in my honour ; it will probably be in a restaurant. 
(All these young Moscow authors ardently long to 
make my acquaintance.) It is now after two 
o'clock. In two hours they will come here. My 
only trouble is, what to put on — a frock-coat or 
evening jacket ? Now this is the whole bulletin. 
I have not asked Katkov for money, but I told 
Lubimov that I might need some in the summer. 
Lubimov answered that he would give it me the 
moment I asked for it. To-morrow I shall go the 
round of the booksellers. I '11 have to call on 
Elena Pavlovna to see if there is a letter from you ; 
to be at Mashenka's, who begged me to come, etc. 
After to-morrow, on Tuesday, the 27th, I am 
leaving for Roussa, but don't yet know whether 
by the morning or afternoon train. I am afraid 
that to-morrow they won't let me do much work : 
Yuriev roared all the while that he ' must have a 
chat, a chat ' with me, etc. On the whole, I miss 
you very much, and my nerves are not right. 1 
don't think I shall write to you again unless some 
thing very special happens. Good-bye for now 
darling. I kiss you a great deal and the children 
Many kisses to Lilya and Fedya. I love you al 
very much. — Your F. Dostoevsky. 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 179 

P.S. — (May 25, 2 o'clock in the afternoon.) 
My dear Anya, I have broken open yesterday's 
envelope so as to send a postscript. This morning 
Ivan Sergueyevich Aksakov came to me to beg me 
most insistently to remain here for the celebrations, 
since they will take place, according to everybody, 
before the 5th. He says that I ought not to go 
away, that I have no right to, that I have an in- 
fluence on Moscow, and above all on the students 
and the younger generation as a whole ; that my 
going off will injure the triumph of our convictions ; 
that yesterday at dinner he had heard the draft 
of my speech and that convinced him finally that 
I must speak, and so on, and so on. On the other 
hand, he said to me that as delegate of the Slav 
Charitable Society I could not very well go away, 
since all delegates remain waiting here, in view of 
the rumour that the ceremony is coming off. He 
left, and immediately after came Yuriev (with whom 
I am dining to-day), and said the same. Prince 
Dolgorouky left to-day (the 25th) for Petersburg, 
and promised to send a telegram from Petersburg 
stating the exact day of the unveiling of the 
memorial. The telegram is expected not later than 
Wednesday, the 28th, but it may also come to- 
morrow. This is what I decided : to remain here 
and wait for the telegram about the day of the 
opening, and if the opening is really fixed between 



180 DOSTOEVSKY 

the first and fifth of June, then I shall remain. 
But if it be postponed, then I '11 leave for Roussa 
on the 28th or 29th, — this is what I said to Yuriev. 
The principal thing is that I can't find out anything 
about Zolotariov. Yuriev promised to find out 
to-day and to come to me with news of him. Then 
in spite of being a delegate of the Slav Charitable 
Society I could go away, having charged Zolotariov 
to be present at the ceremony alone. (By the way, 
wreaths for the memorial are being charged to the 
delegates' own account, and a wreath costs 50 
roubles !) [Here four lines are struck out.] Then 
Yuriev began bothering me about publishing my 
speech in the Russkaya Mysl. Finally I told him 
frankly exactly how matters stood, namely, that» 
I had almost promised it to Katkov. He was 
terribly excited and grieved ; he apologised, main- 
tained that I had not understood him right, that 
it had resulted in a misunderstanding ; and when I 
let drop a hint that I am paid for my work, he said 
that Lavrov had instructed him to pay anything 
I might ask, i.e. even 400 or 500 roubles. It was 
at this point I told Yuriev that I had almost 
promised the article to Katkov. What I had in 
view was to ask him to put off the Karamazovs, and 
to make up for this, instead of the Karamazovs, 
he would have the speech on Poushkin. But now, j 
if I let the Russkaya Mysl have my speech, it will 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 181 

look as if I am trying to get a postponement from 
Katkov with the express object of availing myself 
of that postponement in order to work for his 
enemy Yuriev. (Imagine, now, what a position 
I am in ! But it is Yuriev himself who is to blame.) 
Katkov will be offended. True, Katkov won't 
pay, for instance, 400 roubles (it is for the Kara- 
mazovs that he is giving 300 roubles ; for the speech 
he may not give 300 roubles), so that the one or 
two hundred more from Yuriev would cover my 
staying here till the unveiling of the memorial. In 
a word, there 's a mass of worries and difficulties. 
How it will all end I don't know, but I have decided 
meanwhile to remain here till the 28th. So that, 
if the unveiling of the memorial is not fixed 
before the 5th, I shall return to Roussa on the 
29th or 30th, having arranged to publish my speech 
somewhere. (But try to write to me immediately ; 
I again repeat my request.) Am I not to have a 
single line from you ? Do write without fail to the 
addresses which I told you of yesterday in my 
letter (the one with the postscript). Telegraph, if 
you like. 

Yuriev told me that a number of people called 
on him to-day to abuse him : why had he con- 
cealed yesterday's dinner from them ? Four 
students even came to him to ask for a place at 
the dinner. Among the others were Suhomlinov 



182 DOSTOEVSKY 

who is here now, Gatzuk, Viskovatov, and more of 
them. I 'm off to the booksellers. Good-bye for 
now. I kiss you all once again. — Your 

F. Dostoevsky. 

Yuriev has already got Ivan Aksakov's speech 
on Poushkin. That is probably why they were so 
vague the day before yesterday. But having 
heard yesterday at the dinner what I was saying 
about Poushkin he probably decided that my 
article, too, is indispensable. Turgenev has also 
written an article on Poushkin. 



Ill 

Loskutnaya, on the Tverskoy 
(Room No. 33), 
Moscow, May 26-26, 1880. 

My dear friend Anya, here is one more letter 
(I am writing after one o'clock in the morning). 
Perhaps you will receive it after my return (for I 
still intend leaving on Tuesday the 27th), but I 
write to you in any event, for circumstances are 
shaping so that I shall perhaps have to remain here 
for some time longer. But to begin at the begin- 
ning. To-day, the 25th, at 5 o'clock, Lavrov anc 
Nicolay Aksakov called on me and took me in theii 
own carriage to the Hermitage restaurant. The} 
were in frock-coats and I too went in a frock-coat 






LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 183 

although the dinner, as it turned out, was given 
expressly in my honour. At the Hermitage 
authors, professors, and men of letters, twenty-two 
of them altogether, already awaited us. The first 
thing Yuriev, who received me most ceremoniously, 
said was that many people had done their utmost 
to be present at the dinner, and if it had been post- 
poned for one day only, hundreds of guests would 
have come. But it had been arranged too hastily, 
and now they are afraid that, when the many others 
come to hear about it, their reproaches will be 
bitter for not having been asked. There were 
present four professors of the University, one 
director of a public school, Polivanov (a friend of 
the Poushkin family), Ivan Sergueyevich Aksakov, 
Nicolay Aksakov, Nicolay Rubinstein (the Moscow 
one), etc., etc. The dinner was arranged extra- 
ordinarily sumptuously. A whole reception room 
was engaged (at no small cost). The dinner was 
on such a luxurious scale that afterwards two 
hundred magnificent and expensive cigars appeared 
with the coffee and liqueurs. They order these 
things differently in Petersburg ! Dried sturgeon, 
osiotr a yard long, a yard long stewed sterlet, 
turtle soup, strawberries, quails, wonderful 
asparagus, ice-cream, rivers of most exquisite 
wines and champagne. Six speeches (the speakers 
rising from their chairs) were made to me, some 



184 DOSTOEVSKY 

very long ones. They were by Yurie v, both 
Aksakovs, three of the professors and Nicolay 
Rubinstein. At dinner two congratulatory tele- 
grams were received, one of them from a most 
respected professor who had been called away 
suddenly from Moscow. They spoke of my ' great ! 
significance as an artist with ' universal sympathy,' 
as a publicist and as a Russian. After that, an 
infinite number of toasts were given, at which all 
got up and came to me to touch glasses. Further 
details when we meet. All were in a state of rap- 
ture. I answered them all with a speech which 
went off very well and produced a great effect, by 
managing to switch on to Poushkin. This made a 
great impression. 

Now for a most intolerable and most awkward 
business : a deputation from the ' Lovers of Russian 
Literature ' called to-day on Prince Dolgorouky, 
and he declared that the opening of the memorial 
would take place between the first and fifth of June. 
Yet he did not fix a definite date. Now, of course, 
they are all in raptures, as the authors and certain 
delegations will not disperse, and although there 
will be no music and no theatrical performances, 
there will be meetings of the 4 Society of Lovers of 
Literature,' speeches and dinners. But when I 
announced that I was going away on the 27th, 
there was an absolute storm : 4 We shan't let 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 185 

you ! ' Polivanov (who is on the Unveiling Com- 
mittee of the Memorial), Yuriev and Aksakov 
declared aloud that all Moscow was buying tickets 
for the sittings, and all those who bought tickets 
(for the meetings of the ' Lovers of Russian Litera- 
ture ') asked when they took them (and sent to 
inquire several times) : Will Dostoevsky speak ? 
And as they could not tell at which meeting I was 
going to speak, at the first or at the second, — then 
they all began taking tickets for both meetings. 
* All Moscow will be offended and indignant with 
us, if you go away now,' they said to me. I made 
the excuse that I must write the Karamazovs (and 
deliver the part for the June No.) ; they began in 
all seriousness to shout about sending a deputation 
to Katkov to ask him to postpone the date. I 
began saying that you and the children would be 
anxious if I were to remain here for so long, and 
then (perfectly seriously) they not only proposed 
sending you a telegram, but also a deputation to 
Staraya Roussa to ask you if I may remain here. 
I answered that to-morrow, that is, Monday the 
26th, I '11 decide. 

I am sitting here in terrible perplexity and 
uneasiness. On the one hand, there is the con- 
solidation of my influence not in Petersburg alone, 
but also in Moscow, which matters a great deal ; 
on the other, there is this being away from you, 



186 DOSTOEVSKY 

the difficulties about the Karamazovs (the writing 
and delivery on the appointed date to Katkov's 
magazine), the expense, etc. Finally, although 
my ' Word ' on Poushkin will now certainly be 
published, where is it to appear ? I almost 
promised it, on Saturday, to Katkov. And in this 
case the ' Lovers of Russian Literature ' and Yuriev 
will be saddened. If I give it to them, Katkov 
will be angry. I am still thinking of going away 
without fail, if not on the 27th, then on the 28th 
or 29th, as soon as Dolgorouky sends a notification 
of the exact date of the opening. Perhaps, I shall 
have to wait until that notification arrives. On 
the other hand, all that Dolgorouky has said as yet 
has been his personal opinion ; he has not yet got 
the definite date from Petersburg. (I think he is 
going to Petersburg himself for a few days.) So 
suppose I remained till June 5th, and then there 
suddenly came an order to postpone everything 
till the 10th or 15th, should I still have to wait 
here ? To-morrow I shall tell Yuriev, that I am 
going on the 27th, that only in the case of definite 
and serious circumstances I shall remain. At any 
rate, I am in awful perplexity now. After dinner 
I called at Elena Pavlovna's but found nothing 
from you. Certainly it is still early for letters 
from Roussa, but shall I really receive none to- 
morrow ? With Elena Pavlovna I drove off tc 



I 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 187 

Mashenka Ivanov and told her that I had dined 
with Rubinstein ; she was in raptures. At any 
rate, as soon as you receive this letter, answer me 
without fail : even if I leave, Elena Pavlovna will 
send on the letter, without opening it, to Roussa. 
So answer immediately, without fail. Elena Pav- 
lovna's absolutely exact address is : ' Ostozhenka, 
borough of Voskresenye, in the house of Mme. 
Dmitrevsky, to be given to F. M. Dostoevsky.' 
Should you want to telegraph, send either to Elena 
Pavlovna, or direct to me, Hotel Loskutnaya, 
on the Tverskoy, — I am certain to receive it. 
(Your letters you had better address to Elena 
Pavlovna.) 

I was elected a member of the ' Society of Lovers 
of Russian Literature ' as far back as a year ago, 
but the late secretary, Bezsonov, neglected to 
notify me about the election, for which they now 
apologise. I hold you firmly in my arms, my 
dear one. I kiss the children. I have strange and 
ominous dreams at night. — Wholly your 

F. Dostoevsky. 

P.S. — I think after all I shall put my foot down 
and leave on the 27th. True enough, I shall not 
be able to publish my speech then, for it will not 
have the value of a speech, it will only be an article. 
This must be thought out. 



188 DOSTOEVSKY 

[On the margin is the following.] I made a good 
speech. 

I embrace you once again. Kiss the children, 
tell them about their Daddy. 



IV 

Loskutnaya, Room 33, 
Moscow, May 27, 1880, 3 p.m. 

My dear friend Any a, more news. When I 
arrived in Moscow, Yuriev and Lavrov saw me to 
the Loskutnaya, and I engaged there a room, 
No. 32, at three roubles per day. The next morning 
the manager of the hotel (a young man, apparently 
an educated man) came to me and in a gentle 
voice proposed that I should move to No. 33, the 
room opposite. As No. 33 was incomparably 
better than my No. 32, I instantly agreed and 
moved in. I only wondered to myself, how it was 
that such a nice room should go for the same price, 
three roubles ; but since the manager said nothing 
about the price, but simply asked me to move in 
there, I concluded then that it also was three 
roubles. Yesterday, the 26th, I dined at Yuriev's, 
and Yuriev suddenly said that in the Town Hall 
I am registered as staying in the Loskutnaya, 
No. 33. I was surprised and asked him : ' How 
does the Town Hall know ? ' ' But you are staying 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 189 

there at the expense of the Town Hall,' Yuriev 
replied. I lifted up my voice at that ; Yuriev 
replied resolutely that I could not do otherwise 
than accept accommodation from the Town Hall ; 
that all the visitors are staying at the hotels at 
the expense of the City, that even Poushkin's 
children and Poushkin's nephew Pavlischev are 
staying at our hotel, all of them at the expense of 
the City ; that by refusing to accept the hospitality 
of the City, I will offend them and it will be con- 
sidered a scandal ; that the City is proud to count 
men like myself among its guests, etc. etc. At 
last I decided that even if I did accept my lodging 
from the City I shall on no account accept board 
as well. When I returned home, the manager 
came in again to ask me : Was I satisfied ? Did I 
want anything ? Was it quiet ? All this with the 
most obsequious politeness. I instantly asked 
him : ' Is it true that I am staying at the expense 
of the City of Moscow ? ' — ' Precisely so.' — ' And my 
board ? ' — ' All your board as well.' — ' But I do 
not want to ! ' — ' In that case you will offend not 
only the Town Hall, but the whole City of Moscow. 
The City is proud to have such guests, etc' — Any a, 
what shall I do now ? I can't refuse to accept it ; 
there will be rumours about it ; it will become an 
anecdote, a scandal, as though I had refused the 
hospitality of the whole City of Moscow, etc. Then 



190 DOSTOEVSKY 

in the evening I asked Lavrov and Yuriev, — and 
they were surprised at my scruples and simply say 
that I shall offend all Moscow, that people will 
remember it, that there will be gossip about it. 
So I see positively that I must accept their hospi- 
tality entire. But, how all this will worry me ! — 
Now I shall deliberately go out to dine at a 
restaurant so as to reduce my bill as much as pos- 
sible, seeing that the bill will be presented to the 
Town Hall. And I 've already twice complained 
about the coffee and sent it back to have it boiled 
thicker. In the restaurant they will say : See 
how he plays the gentleman at other people's 
expense. Twice I 've asked in the office for stamps ; 
when the bill is presented to the Mansion House, 
they will say : See, how he enjoyed himself ! He 
even got his stamps at our expense ! It is a great 
strain on me, but certain items I will certainly 
have put to my account. I believe this might be 
arranged. As a result, however long I stay in 
Moscow I shan't have very great expenses. 

(N.B. — Yesterday I received from (the book- 
sellers) Soloviov, from Kishkin and from Priesnov 
170 roubles altogether ; you yourself will see the 
accounts when I come home. From the Central 
Shop and from the Morosovs I have not received 
anything yet.) 

Yesterday at four o'clock in the afternoon 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 191 

Dolgorouky stated (definitely) that the unveiling 
of the memorial would take place on the 4th June 
and that Petersburg urgently desired it. A final 
telegram from Dolgorouky as to the exact day of 
the unveiling will arrive only to-morrow, but 
every one is firmly convinced that the opening will 
be on the 4th, and besides, letters to this effect 
have also been received from Petersburg. Delega- 
tions (a multitude) from various towns and organisa- 
tions are waiting here and not going away. There 
is the greatest excitement. They positively won't 
let me go away. I have decided now : I believe 
I '11 stay for certain if the opening takes place on 
the 4th. Then I '11 leave for Roussa, and on the 
8th or 9th I shall be with you. This morning 
Grigorovich called on me, also Yuriev ; they began 
crying that my going away will be considered by all 
Moscow as an affectation ; every one will be sur- 
prised ; all Moscow keeps on inquiring whether I 
shall be present ; that people will circulate stories 
about the whole affair. It will be said that I was 
so lacking in patriotism that I would not put aside 
my personal business for a higher object. For in 
the rehabilitation of the significance of Poushkin 
every one all over Russia sees a means for ex- 
pressing the new change of convictions, of mentality, 
of tendencies. Two things stand in my way as a 
hindrance and torment my soul : the first is the 



192 DOSTOEVSKY 

Russky Viestnik and the obligation which I ack- 
nowledged a month ago to deliver the Karamazovs 
for the June number. If I come home on the 10th, 
what shall I be able to do in some ten days ? Four 
days ago Lubimov said that a further postpone- 
ment, till July, depended on Markevich ; if he sent 
in some part of his novel, mine could be postponed ; 
but if he does not, they can't do it. An answer 
from Markevich will not come before the 10th of 
June. Thus, I am in the dark and anxious. I had 
thought of writing the Karamazovs here, but because 
of the continuous bustle, visits and invitations, it is 
almost impossible. The second reason which tor- 
ments me is my longing to be with you : I have 
not had a single line from you up till now, and we 
had agreed that you would write care of Elena 
Pavlovna ! What is the matter with you, tell me 
for the love of God ! Why don't you write ? Are 
you well, safe ? Are the children well ? If you 
had written telling me whether to wait here or not 
till the unveiling I should be easy about it. You 
must have seen in the papers that the Empress 
was dead. Why didn't you write then, foreseeing 
that I must certainly be in a difficult position. 
Every day, and yesterday in the rain, I 've had a 
very long drive to Elena Pavlovna's to inquire : 
Aren't there any letters ? There and back the cab 
fare is one rouble. Do write, write without fail. 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 198 

But I believe I shall decide to remain here for 
certain. If only I could be sure of the date, other- 
wise what shall I do if they postpone it again ? 
Yesterday, by a most pressing invitation, I was at 
an evening party at Lavrov's. Lavrov, the pub- 
lisher and the backer of the Russkaya Mysl, is my 
passionate, frenzied admirer, who has been feeding 
on my works for many years now. He himself is a 
very rich retired merchant. His two brothers deal 
in grain, but he has got out of the business and lives 
on his capital. He is thirty-three years old, a most 
sympathetic and sincere man, devoted to art and 
poetry. At the evening party about fifteen local 
men of letters and authors were present, a few also 
from Petersburg. My appearance there yesterday 
aroused enthusiasm. I did not intend remaining 
to supper, but, seeing that I should mortally offend 
all of them, I remained. The supper was like a 
grand dinner, luxuriously served, with champagne. 
After supper, champagne and cigars — 75 roubles 
per hundred. (The dinner the other day was a 
subscription dinner, a very modest one, not more 
than 3 roubles a head, but all the luxuries, the 
flowers, turtle soup, cigars, the reception room 
itself, Lavrov himself contributed.) I came home 
about four in the morning. To-day Grigorovich 
told me that Turgenev, who has come back from 
visiting Leo Tolstoy, is ill, and that Tolstoy is 

N 



194 DOSTOEVSKY 

almost deranged, and perhaps gone completely off 
his head. 1 Annenkov too has returned ; what will 
our meeting be like ? Yuriev came here for my 
article just now, imploring me to give it without 
fail to the Russkaya Mysi. Zolotariov is coming 
(he sent a message). Only from you alone I receive 
no news. Any a, for the love of Christ, write to me 
at the addresses I gave you. Have you had all 
my letters ? Up till now I have written every 
day. You, Anya, love to ask, Do I love you ? 
And you yourself don't miss me at all, and I miss 
you. How are the little ones ? Only to hear s 
little word from them ! It is not easy, almosl 
another fortnight of being away from you. Good 
bye for now, my darling, I kiss you ever so much 
I kiss the children and bless them. If anything 
new happens, I shall write to-morrow. — Wholl} 
your F. Dostoevsky. 

P.S. — In our hotel, besides myself, three other 
are also staying at the expense of the Mansioi 
House : two professors from Kazan and Warsaw 
and Pavlischev, Poushkin's own nephew. 

1 A reference to the abandonment of artistic work by Tolstoy an 
his absorption in religious and philosophical problems. Tolstoy 
Critique of Dogmatic Theology appeared in 1880, and his Brit 
Exposition of the Gospels in 1881. 

■ 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 195 



Loskutnaya, Room No. 33, 

Moscow, May 27-28, 2 a.m. 

My dear friend Anya, at last, this evening, I 
received from you five lines, in pencil, written on 
the 24th. And this I received only on the evening 
of the 27th ! How long a letter takes ! I was 
awfully glad, but also saddened, for there were 
only five lines, and they began with 4 Dear Fiodor 
Mihailovich.' Well, never mind ! I hope to re- 
ceive more next time. You know now everything 
from my letter ; it seems I shall certainly have to 
remain here for the unveiling of the memorial. In 
the evening I was at Katkov's. I told him every- 
thing (he had already heard from others about how 
1 Moscow ' was waiting for me) ; and he said firmly 
I must not go away. To-morrow there will be a 
telegram from Dolgorouky and the day of the 
opening will be definitely settled. But every one 
says the 4th. If the opening takes place on the 
4th, I '11 leave probably on the 8th (if not on the 
7th even), and on the 9th I shall be in Roussa. I 
called on Katkov with the object of obtaining a 
postponement of the Karamazovs till the July 
number. He listened to me very amiably (and 
was altogether very friendly and obliging, as he 

;ver had been, to me before), but he said nothing 



196 DOSTOEVSKY 

definite about the postponement. All depends on 
Markevich, that is, on whether he sends in the 
next instalment of his novel. I told Katkov 
about my acquaintance with the high personage 
at Countess Mengden's and then at K. K.'s. He 
was pleasantly surprised ; his expression com- 
pletely changed. 

This time I did not upset the tea, for which he 
treated me to expensive cigars. He saw me down 
to the hall and thereby surprised the whole office, 
who were watching us from the other room, for 
Katkov never comes down with any one. I think 
on the whole the affair with the Russky Viestnik 
will somehow be arranged. I did not say a single 
word about the article on Poushkin. Perhaps 
they '11 forget about it, so that I shall be able to 
give it to Yuriev, from whom I am certain to get 
more money. I dream even of finding a moment 
of time here before the 8th to sit down to the 
Karamazovs, so as to be ready for any emergency, 
but it is hardly possible. — If my speech at the 
solemn opening is a success, then in Moscow (and 
therefore in all Russia) I shall henceforth be more 
famous as a writer. (I mean, famous in the sense 
in which Turgenev and Tolstoy have already won 
greatness. Goncharov, for instance, who never 
moves out of Petersburg, although he is known 
here, yet it is only vaguely and coldly.) — But how 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 197 

can I manage to live without you and without the 
little ones all this time ? Is it an easy thing, for 
twelve whole days ? I sit and dream of the children, 
and am sad all the while. Did Grandma return ? 
How are you there all by yourselves ? Are you 
afraid of anything, are you worried about any- 
thing? For the love of God, write me oftener, 
and if anything should happen (which God forbid) 
telegraph me instantly. By the way (read this 
carefully), address all letters direct to me in the 
future to the Loskutnaya Hotel, on the Tverskoy, 
Moscow, F. M. Dostoevsky, Room No. 33. Why 
should I have to go every evening to Elena Pavlovna 
for your letters ? First, it is a long way ; secondly, 
I lose time, so that if I happened to want to do 
something (the Karamazovs), I should have no 
time at all. Also I must have tired them out. 
To-day I drove on there from Katkov ; I received 
your letter and found there the I vano vs . Mashenka 
played Beethoven very well. Here it is half sun, 
half showers, and it is fairly windy and fresh. 
Mashenka is going with Natasha the day after to- 
morrow to ' Dorovoye,' and Ninochka is remaining 
here. Ninochka is untamed and taciturn ; you 
can't get anything out of her ; it 's as though she 
were ashamed. All of them live near Elena Pav- 
lovna. Well, good-bye for now. I believe I have 
written everything I wanted to. If there is some- 



198 DOSTOEVSKY 

thing new to-morrow, I shall write ; if not then the 
day after to-morrow. As for Leo Tolstoy, Katkov 
also declared that people say he has gone quite off 
his head. Yurie v urged me to go to Yasnaya 
Polyana ; there and back including my visit would 
take less than two days altogether. But I shall 
not go, although it would be very interesting. 
To-day I dined at the Moscow Tavern on purpose 
to keep down the bill at the Loskutnaya. But I 
came to the conclusion the Loskutnaya may per- 
haps after all charge for my having dinner there 
every day. In the Loskutnaya they are polite to 
a degree ; not a single letter of yours will go wrong, 
and as I shall in no case change my hotel now, you 
may without hesitation send me letters addressed 
to the Loskutnaya. Good-bye for now, I kiss you 
4 dear Anna Gregorevna.' Hug the little ones as 
tightly and warmly as you can, tell them Daddy 
told you to. — Wholly your F. Dostoevsky. 

Elena Pavlovna's children are with her and they 
are charming. 

VI 

Loskutnaya, Room S3, 
Moscow, May 28-29, 2 a.m. 

My dear Anya, the only news is that a telegram 
came from Dolgorouky to-day saying the unveiling 
of the memorial is on the 4th. This is now settled. 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 199 

So that I can leave Moscow on the 8th or even on 
the 7th, and of course I '11 try to hurry. But 
remain here I must, and I have decided to remain. 
The chief point is that I am needed here not only 
by the ' Lovers of Russian Literature,' but by our 
whole party, by our whole idea, for which we have 
been fighting these thirty years. For the hostile 
party (Turgenev, Kovalevsky, and almost the whole 
University) is quite determined to belittle Poush- 
kin's significance, as the representative of the 
Russian nation, and thereby to deny the very 
nation itself. Against them, on our side, we have 
only Ivan Sergueyevich Aksakov (Yuriev and the 
rest have no weight). But Ivan Aksakov has grown 
rather out of date and Moscow is a bit bored by 
him. Myself, however, Moscow has not heard or 
seen, and it is in me alone that the people are 
interested. My voice will have weight, and thus 
our side will triumph. All my life I have been 
fighting for this ; I can't run away from the field 
of battle now. When even Katkov, who on the 
whole is not a Slavophil, says to me : ' You must 
not go away, you can't go away,' then, certainly, 
stay I must. 

This morning, at twelve o'clock, when I was 
still asleep, Yuriev arrived with that telegram. I 
began to dress while he was there. Suddenly just 
at that moment two ladies were announced. I 



200 DOSTOEVSKY 

was not dressed and sent to inquire who they were. 
The waiter returned with a note, that a Mme. 
Ilyin wished to ask my permission to select from 
all my works passages which were suitable for 
children, and to publish such a book for children. 
There *s an idea ! We ought to have thought of it 
ourselves long ago and published such a little book 
for children. Such a book would certainly sell 
and perhaps give us a profit of 2000 roubles. Make 
her a present of 2000 roubles — what impertinence ! 
Yuriev immediately went down (since it was he 
himself in his thoughtless way who had directed 
her to me) to say that I could not possibly agree, 
and that I couldn't receive her. He went out, 
and suddenly Varvara Mihailovna arrived, and 
no sooner had she entered when Viskovatov ap- 
peared. Seeing that I had visitors Varvara im- 
mediately ran away. Yuriev came back and 
explained that the other lady visitor was on her 
own ; she did not give her name, but only said 
that she had come to express her boundless respect, 
admiration, gratitude for all that I had given her 
by my works, etc. She went away ; I did not see 
her. I asked my visitors to tea, when suddenly in 
came Grigorovich. They all sat for a couple of 
hours, and when Yuriev and Viskovatov left, 
Grigorovich remained without any thought of 
going. He began telling me various stories of 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 201 

things that had happened in the last thirty years, 
recollecting the past, etc. He certainly made up 
half of it ; but it was interesting. Then when it 
was past four he declared that he was not going 
to part with me and began begging that we should 
dine together. We went again to the Moscow 
Tavern, where we dined at our leisure, and he talked 
all the while. Suddenly Averkiev and his wife 
turned up. Averkiev sat down at our table, and 
Donna Anna declared that she would call on me 
(much I want to see her !). It turned out that 
near us were dining Poushkin's relations, his two 
nephews, Pavlischev and Poushkin, and some one 
else. Pavlischev also came up and declared that 
he too would call on me. In a word, here as in 
Petersburg they won't let me alone. After dinner 
Grigorovich began asking me to drive with him to 
the park ' for a breath of fresh air,' but I refused, 
left him, walked home, and in ten minutes drove 
to Elena Pavlovna for your letter. But there was 
no letter, I only met the Ivanovs there. Mashenka 
is going to-morrow. I sat till eleven and returned 
home to have tea and write to you. This is all 
my news. 

The worst of it is that letters take three or four 
days. As I wrote to you that I was coming home, 
you of course won't write to me, expecting me on 
the 28th ; and now the time it will take before my 



202 DOSTOEVSKY 



letter of yesterday and of to-day about my new 
decision reaches you ! I am afraid you will be 
wondering what has happened and be uneasy. 
But it can't be helped. The only bad thing is that 
I shall perhaps have no letters from you for two 
days, and I am pining for you. I am sad here in 
spite of guests and dinners. Ah, Anya, what a 
pity that you could not have arranged (of course, 
it was out of the question) to have come with me ! 
They say that even Maikov has changed his mind 
and will come here. There will be a lot of fuss ; 
I have to present myself at the Town Hall as a 
delegate (I don't know when yet), in order to receive 
my admission card for the ceremony. The windows 
of the houses that surround the square are being 
let at 50 roubles a window. They are also building 
wooden stands for the public at an equally enormous 
price. I am afraid too of its being a rainy day and 
I may catch a cold. I am not going to speak at 
the dinner on the opening day. At the meeting 
of the c Lovers of Russian Literature,' I believe, I 
am to speak on the second day. Besides that, 
instead of a theatrical performance they think of 
having certain works of Poushkin read by well- 
known authors (Turgenev, myself, Yurie v), each 
selecting a passage. [They have asked me to read 
the scene of the Monk-Chronicler (from Boris 
Godounov), and also the ' Miser's Monologue ' (from 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 203 

the Poor Knight).] Besides, Yuriev, Viskovatov 
and myself will each read a poem on Poushkin's 
death ; Yuriev Guber's, Viskovatov Lermontov's, 
myself Tyuchev's. 

The time passes, and people keep me from doing 
anything. Up till now I have not called for money 
at the Central Shop or at the Morosovs. I have not 
been to Chayev's yet ; I must call on Varya ; I 
should also like to make the acquaintance of the 
church dignitaries, Nicolay Yaponsky and the local 
vicar Alexey, very interesting men. I don't sleep 
well, I have nothing but nightmares. I am afraid 
of catching a cold on the opening day and of cough- 
ing while I am reading. 

With terrible impatience I keep expecting a note 
from you. Oh, my God, how are the children, 
how I long to see them ! Are you well, happy, or 
are you cross ? It is difficult without you. Well, 
good-bye for now. To-morrow I shall not go to 
Elena Pavlovna's, she herself promised to send me 
any letter if it comes. I hug you all warmly, I 
bless the little ones. — Wholly your 

F. Dostoevsky. 

P.S. — If anything happens, telegraph to the 
Loskutnaya. Address letters there, too. Do my 
letters arrive safely ? Bad luck if any get lost ! 



204 DOSTOEVSKY 

VII 

Loskutnaya, Room 33, 
Moscow, May 30, 1880. 

1 am writing to you now, although the letter 
will not go away till to-morrow, my dear Anya. 
There is almost no news. Only that I am in for 
a lot of bother and various official ceremonies : 
I have to present myself at the Town Hall, obtain 
admission cards, find out where to stand and sit 
at the ceremony, etc. And above all, those wreaths 
— they say I must have two. The Town Hall is 
arranging for them — 30 roubles for the two. Stupid ! 
Zolotariov has not come yet, but he is coming, and 
I '11 put the whole ceremony of the unveiling on 
to his shoulders : in a frock-coat only and with no 
hat on I really may catch a cold. Yesterday 
morning the Averkievs came in to see me ; Poush- 
kin's nephews, Pavlischev and Poushkin, called on 
me also, to make my acquaintance. After that 
I drove to Yuriev (about all these cards and cere- 
monies), but did not find him at home. I dined at 
home, and after dinner in came Viskovatov, who 
declared his love for me, and asked, why I did not 
love him ? etc. Still he was more possible than 
I 've known him before. (By the way, he told me 
that Sabourov (Minister of Education), a relation 
of his, had read certain passages of the Karamazovs 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 205 

and literally wept for ecstasy. At nine o'clock we 
drove to Yuriev, but again did not find him. Visko- 
vatov suddenly remembered that Anna Nicolayevna 
Englehardt was here and suggested we should call 
on her. We took a cab and arrived at ten o'clock 
at Dusseau's Hotel. She was already in bed, but 
was very glad, and we sat for an hour, talking of 
the beautiful and the sublime. She is not here for 
the celebration, but to meet some relatives. But 
now she is not well ; she has a swollen leg. This 
morning when I was asleep Ivan Sergueyevich 
Aksakov called on me, but told them not to wake 
me. After this I drove to Polivanov (Director of 
the Secondary School and the Secretary of the 
Society). He explained to me all the steps I must 
take at the Mansion House, and about the admis- 
sion cards, and despatched a young man to help 
me. He introduced me to his family. A whole 
company of teachers and pupils gathered round 
and we went (in the same building) to look at the 
Poushkin portraits and things which are at present 
at the school. After that, having come home, I 
found a note from Grigorovich, inviting me to dine 
at Tiestov's at six. I wonder whether I shall go. 
Meanwhile I sat down to write you my bulletin. 
At 8 o'clock I shall go to Elena Pavlovna for your 
letter. (Yesterday, the 29th, I received one.) 
After that, I '11 go home and sit down to my speech, 



206 DOSTOEVSKY 

which must be polished up. A horrid existence 
on the whole ; the weather is wonderful. All the 
people here are in their own homes ; I am the only 
visitor. In the evening I shall write more. 

May 30-31, 1 a.m. 
At Tiestov's restaurant I found no Grigorovich, 
so I returned home and dined. After that I drove 
to Elena Pavlovna ; she was not at home, but her 
children told me there had been no letter from 
you. By my reckoning perhaps to-morrow there 
will be a letter from you for certain. Putting two 
and two together I now understand that from all 
my previous letters you came to the conclusion 
that I was coming on the 28th. But you must by 
now have received the letters in which I hesitated 
whether to return or not, and therefore there should 
be an answer now. The trouble was that we some- 
how failed to make all this clear before I went away. 
For you could have written in any case, even 
reckoning that I was coming back, care of Elena 
Pavlovna, so as not to leave me in the dark about 
yourself and the children. I also imagine that on 
the 2nd I shall have a letter from you sent direct 
to the Loskutnaya. Your letters addressed care of 
Elena Pavlovna, that is, your previous letters you 
might have sent without any fear, for even had I 
gone away, nobody would have opened them, and 






LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 207 

she would have sent them back to Roussa. But 
it would be better to address your letters to the 
Loskutnaya, so that I don't have to go to Elena 
Pavlovna's because the great to-do begins im- 
mediately (from the 2nd). I shall have to get up 
early and bustle about all day long ; I shall not 
have the time even to keep on going to Elena 
Pavlovna. Also I shall stop writing detailed 
bulletins to you, as I have done till now : I shall 
have no time at all. On the 3rd the Mansion House 
receives guests ; there will be speeches, frock-coats, 
silk hats, white ties. And then there is the un- 
veiling dinner at the Town Hall ; after which on 
the mornings of the 5th and 6th there will be 
meetings, and in the evenings literary readings. 
Also on the 2nd there will be an evening meeting 
of the ' Lovers of Literature,' when it will be 
settled who shall speak and at what time. I 
believe I shall have to speak on the second day, 
on the 6th. I have been to Morosov and to the 
Central Shop. From Morosov I got altogether 14 
roubles, and at the Central, although they told me 
you had written to them to remit me 50 roubles, 
they ask for a postponement until the 6th or 7th. 
As on the 7th, moreover, I shall have to make 
farewell visits, and there is a number of them, I 
may be able to leave only on the 8th, and shall let 
you know by which train. But I shall try to leave 



208 DOSTOEVSKY 

on the 8th for certain. I called on Varya. She 
told me a great deal about her grandchildren and 
asked my advice. She is a sensible and good woman. 
In the evening I managed to have just a glance at 
the MS. How are the little ones ? I miss them 
very much ; I don't hear their sweet voices. And 
I keep on wondering if anything has happened to 
you all ? If anything should happen (which God 
forbid), wire to me without fail. Good-bye for now, 
my darling. Ah, if I received only a line from you 
to-morrow ! I embrace you and the children, and 
kiss you all a great deal. And the Karamazovs, 
oh, the Karamazovs ! Ah, what a throwing away of 
precious time ! Still I am now absorbed in this 
affair : they (the Westerners) have a strong party. 
I embrace you again and again. — Your 

F. Dostoevsky. 

Yesterday afternoon the gold link in my cuff 
was broken ; the one I had repaired. Half of it 
remained in the sleeve of my shirt, and the other 
I must have dropped somewhere in the street. 

VIII 



Loskutnaya, Room 33, 
Moscow, May 81, 1880, 1 a.m. 






My dear Any a, I thought of not writing to you 
to-day, for I have almost nothing to write about. 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 209 

But as I 've at last received your note (of the 29th), 
and as days are certainly coming when in the bustle 
I shall not be able to write you anything, or at best 
a couple of lines, I have decided to write now. I 
am so very glad that you are all well ; I am glad for 
the little ones and for you ; it is as if my anxiety 
had rolled away from my heart, although I still 
miss you. It is annoying that Grandma won't 
wait my arrival. — Aksakov promised me Gogol's 
autograph, 1 although I wonder if I shall have time 
to get it now. And besides, I have forgotten and 
muddled in my head all the directions for the 
celebrations, so that I shall have to inquire who 
lives where from Yuriev. A certain mathematician 
(I forget his name) called on me to-day and sat for 
a long time in the reading-room of my hotel, 
waiting for me to get up. When I awoke, he came 
in, stayed precisely three minutes, and did not 
even sit down : he called to declare his deep respect, 
admiration for my talent, his devotion, gratitude ; 
he expressed it all ardently and went away. An 
oldish man, with a most sympathetic face. After 
that came Lopatin, the young man whom Polivanov 
had charged to look after my tickets for the Town 
Hall, and to give me all necessary information, etc. 



1 Gogol's letter of March 1841, to Aksakov, is among Dostoeveky's 
personal archives. It was forwarded to Dostoevsky by Aksakov on 
September 3, 1880. • 



210 DOSTOEVSKY 

We entered into a conversation and, to tny pleasant 
surprise, I found him an extraordinarily clever 
man, very intelligent, extremely decent, and sharing 
my own convictions to an extreme degree. In a 
word, a most pleasant meeting. After that came 
Grigorovich, and lied and gossiped a great deal. 
They really seem to be preparing themselves to 
say something spiteful at the sittings and dinners. 
Grigorovich is also a delegate from the Literary 
Fund. The other three are : Turgenev, Gayevsky, 
Krayevsky. Each received 150 roubles from the 
Fund for their expenses. Only our Slav Society 
voted nothing, nor could it have done so. Grigoro- 
vich complains that 150 roubles is too little. In- 
deed, money goes so fast here that although I 
shall have to pay little at the hotel, yet I shall 
have spent a great deal : cabmen, tobacco, special 
expenses, buying of wreaths, etc. Apropos, the 
two obligatory wreaths are prepared by the Town 
Hall at 30 roubles for the two from each dele- 
gate. If Zolotariov does not come, then I shall 
certainly have to pay. I must also buy cuff-links. 
I dined at the Moscow Tavern. Then I went to 
Elena Pavlovna and got your note. Her Manya 
is a most lovely girl of twenty, and I noticed there 
a young doctor as their guest, who was very in- 
trigued by her. After that together with Visko- 
vatov we went to Anna Englehardt, who is still 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 211 

sitting at home with her bad leg, and there we met 
her doctor, who says that the illness is pretty 
serious if it be even slightly neglected. Then we 
walked home with Viskovatov. In the morning 
there were two thunderstorms and a downpour, 
and now the night is wonderful. These are all my 
adventures for the time being. How am I going 
to read my speech ? Aksakov said that his was 
the same as mine. It is sad if we coincide so 
literally in our ideas. — How shall I read at the 
evening literary recitals the scene of Pimen and 
the Poor Knight, and also (most important) 
Tyuchev on Poushkin's death ? It is interesting 
to try and imagine my meeting with Annenkov. 
Will he indeed hold out his hand ? I should not 
like quarrels. Well, good-bye for now, darling 
Anya. Kiss the little ones warmly, remind them 
of me. Remember me to Anna Nicolayevna. How 
is she, has she had a good journey ? Mine was 
not. I ought to call on Katkov. Farewell, I 
embrace you closely. — Wholly your 

F. Dostoevsky. 
I bless the little ones. 

P.S. — [The first word is struck out] near Auntie 
playing cards with her. how can he think of coming 
here. 



212 DOSTOEVSKY 



IX 

Loskutnaya, Room 33, 
Moscow, June 2-3, 1880, 

2 A.M. 

My dearest lovely friend Anyechka, yesterday 
evening I went off to Elena Pavlovna for your 
letter but received none ; and to-day your two 
letters arrived at the Loskutnaya, one at 4 o'clock 
in the afternoon, the other in the evening. In a 
word, letters addressed to the Loskutnaya ap- 
parently reach here quicker than if sent to Elena 
Pavlovna. Kiss the children hard for their lovely 
messages at the end and buy them some sweets, 
without fail. Do you hear, Any a ? — Even doctors 
prescribe sweets for children. — As to your remark 
that I do not love you much, I say it is sillyssimo. 
I think only of you and the children. And I see 
you in my dreams. — There has been a hubbub 
again here. Yesterday the Celebration was again 
suddenly postponed, but now it is definitely stated 
that the opening will be on the 6th. The wreaths 
are prepared by the Town Hall at 8 roubles each. 
I need two, which I shall order to-morrow. Zolo- 
tariov has not come yet. The train from Peters- 
burg with various delegates for the Celebration 
is arriving here only the day after to-morrow. 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 213 

Now to proceed : two days ago in the evening 
there was a consultation at Turgenev's of nearly 
all participants in the Celebration (I was excluded), 
as to what precisely should be read, how the Cele- 
bration should be arranged, etc. I was told they 
met at Turgenev's as though by chance. Grigoro- 
vich told me this as if to comfort me. Certainly, 
I myself would not have gone to Turgenev without 
a formal invitation from him ; but the noodle 
Yuriev whom I haven't seen for four days now, 
blabbed to me four days ago that there was going 
to be a gathering at Turgenev's. Viskovatov 
thereupon told me that already three days ago he 
had received an invitation. Thus I was simply 
passed over. (Of course it is not Yuriev, it is the 
doing of Turgenev and Kovalevsky ; Yuriev has 
only remained out of sight, and probably that is 
why he does not show himself.) And then yester- 
day morning, I was no sooner awake than enter 
Grigorovich and Viskovatov to inform me that the 
full programme of the Celebration and of the evening 
readings had been fixed at Turgenev's. According 
to them there is to be music and a recital of the 
Poor Knight by the actor Samarin ; the reading 
of the Poor Knight has been taken away from 
me, also the reading of the poem on the death of 
Poushkin (and it was just the poem I wanted to 
read). Instead of this I have been appointed to 



214 DOSTOEVSKY 

read Poushkin's poem The Prophet. I shall prob- 
ably not refuse to read The Prophet, but why have 
I not been officially informed ? Then Grigorovich 
declared that I was requested to come to-morrow 
to the Hall of the Noblemen's Assembly (close to 
here), where everything will be finally arranged. 
(It means then my opinion was not asked, and now 
I am told to come to the Noblemen's Assembly to 
a general rehearsal; with the public present, and 
above all with the pupils of the secondary schools 
(free admission), as the rehearsal is arranged for 
them so that they too may hear. Thus I am placed 
in a most awkward position : they have settled 
things without me, never asked my consent before- 
hand to read the poems allotted to me, and yet I 
can't help being at the rehearsal and reading to 
the young. It will be said : Dostoevsky did not 
want to read to the young. Finally, I am at a loss 
how to appear to-morrow : whether in a frock- 
coat like the public, or in full dress. I was in a very 
bad way yesterday. I dined alone ; in the evening 
I called on Anna Nicolayevna (Englehardt) ; her 
doctor was there (he is her friend, related to her 
even). I sat for half an hour, and they both walked 
back with me to my hotel. This morning Grigoro- 
vich and Viskovatov called again, and Grigorovich 
was very pressing that we three should dine to- 
gether at the Hermitage, and then spend the even- 



It 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 215 

ing in the Hermitage park. They went away, 
and I drove to Katkov, whom I had not called on 
for three days. There I chanced on Lubimov, who 
had just had a letter from Markevich promising to 
send in his novel for the June number ! So that 
I may be easy on that score. It is a very good 
thing. At Katkov's there was news : he had only 
just received an official letter from Yuriev, as 
Chairman of the 4 Society of Lovers of Russian 
Literature ' (of which Society Katkov has been a 
member from times immemorial). Yuriev informed 
him that the invitation card for the celebrations 
had been sent to the Moscowskya Viedomosti by 
mistake, and that the Council of the Society for 
the arrangement of the celebrations had revoked 
the invitation, as contrary to the resolution of the 
Council, so that the invitation must be considered 
as not having been issued. The style of the letter 
was most dry and rude. Grigorovich assured me 
that Yuriev had been made to sign it, chiefly by 
Kovalevsky, but of course also by Turgenev. 
Katkov was evidently irritated. ' Even without 
this I would not have gone,' he said to me, as he 
showed me the letter. He wants to publish it as 
it stands in the Viedomosti. This is certainly 
quite odious, and the important thing is they had 
no right at all to act like that. It is abominable, 
and had I not been so much involved in the Celebra- 



216 DOSTOEVSKY 

tion, I would perhaps break off my connection 
with them. — I will speak sharply to Yuriev about 
the whole affair. Then I asked Katkov who was 
the best dentist here, and he mentioned Adelheim 
at the Kuzvetsky Most, saying that I should tell 
Adelheim that he, Katkov, had sent me to him. 
My little plate has broken down completely and 
hangs on a thread. I drove up to Adelheim and 
he put in a new one for five roubles. From him I 
went home, and together with Grigorovich and 
Viskovatov drove to the Hermitage, where we 
dined for a rouble each. Then the rain be^an. 

о 

When it stopped for a little, we went out and the 
three of us got into a single cab and drove to the 
Hermitage park. On our way there it began rain- 
ing. We arrived at the park soaked through and 
asked for tea in the restaurant. We bought one- 
rouble tickets with admission to the Hermitage 
Theatre. The rain kept on. Grigorovich told all 
sorts of fibs, then we went into the theatre, to the 
second act : the opera Paul et Virginie was on, — 
theatre, orchestra, singers, — none of them bad, 
only the music is bad (in Paris it was performed 
several hundreds of times). Charming scenery for 
Act III. Without waiting for the end, we came 
out and each went home. At the Loskutnaya I 
found your second letter. To-morrow's rehearsal 
agitates me extremely. Grigorovich has promised 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 217 

to call for me, so that we can go there together. 
I got rather wet. On my journey here I caught 
a chill in my left arm, and it still rather aches. 
Yesterday morning I called on the bishops Alexey 
and on Nicolay (Yaponsky). I was very pleased 
to make their acquaintance. I sat there for about 
an hour ; a countess was announced, and I left. 
I had a heart-to-heart talk with both. They said 
that my visit had done them great honour and 
given them happiness. They had read my works. 
So they appreciate who stands for God. Alexey 
blessed me ardently. He gave me the Host. 
Good-bye for now, my darling. If I can, I shall 
write you to-morrow, too. I love you very much. 
A good kiss for the little ones. To Anna Nicola- 
yevna my lowest bow, and kiss her little hand 
besides for me. — Wholly without division your 

F. Dostoevsky. 

(Postscript on the first page) : But you are mis- 
taken. My dreams are very bad ones. Listen : 
you keep on writing about the application to the 
nobility. Firstly, even if I could, I have no time, 
above all, this matter must be done from Peters- 
burg, through people. I shall explain it all to you 
when we meet. I '11 do it without fail in Peters- 
burg. Here no applications will serve any purpose : 
I know it, I am firmly convinced. 



218 DOSTOEVSKY 

(Postscript on the second page) : I called on Ivan 
Aksakov — he is away in his country house. — 
Chayev is also in the country. I shall go to 
Muraviov if I find time. Once more wholly yours, 
loving you. 

X 

Loskutnaya, Room 33, 
Moscow, June 3-4, Tuesday, 2 a.m. 

My lovely darling Anyechka, to-day I again 

received a dear little letter from you, and am very 

grateful to you that you do not forget your Fedichka. 

Since your letters began coming frequently I really 

do feel more peaceful and happier about you. I 

am also glad because of the children. This morning 

Lopatin came to me and brought the programme 

of the dates and ceremonies. I gave him 17 roubles 

to order the wreaths at the Town Hall (two wreaths). 

Zolotariov is not here yet. After this came a 

certain barrister Soloviov and introduced himself. 

He is a learned man, and came only to speak about 

mystical religious problems (a new craze.) After 

that came Grigorovich and Viskovatov, and then 

Yuriev. We all attacked Yuriev terribly for his 

letter to Katkov and scolded him awfully. Then 

I lunched with Grigorovich and Viskovatov in the 

Moscow Tavern and there made the acquaintance 

of the actor Samarin ; the old fellow is sixty-four ; 

he was all the while making speeches to me. He 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 219 

will act at the Poushkin Celebration the Poor 
Knight, in costume. (He took it away from me.) 
The Moscow Tavern is always very crowded, and 
it is seldom that people do not turn round and 
look at me : every one knows, every one knows 
who I am. Samarin told many stories about the 
artistic life of Moscow. Then, straight from lunch, 
we drove to the general meeting of the committee 
of the ' Lovers of Literature ' for the settling of the 
final programme of the morning sittings and the 
evening festivities. Turgenev, Kovalevsky, Chayev, 
Grot, Bartenev, Yuriev, Polivanov, Kalachov, and 
others were there. Everything has been settled 
to our common satisfaction. Turgenev was rather 
nice to me, and Kovalevsky (a large fat carcass 
and enemy of our way of thinking) gazed at me 
fixedly all the time. I am to read on the second 
day of the morning sessions, June 8th, and at 
the evening festivity of the 6th I am to read 
(music has been allowed) the Pimen scene (from 
Poushkin's Boris Godounov.) Many are to read, 
nearly all. Turgenev, Grigorovich, Pisemsky, and 
others. On the second evening, the 8th, I shall 
recite three poems by Poushkin (the second 
part of the Western Slavs, and the She- Bear), and 
in the finale, at the conclusion of the festivity, I 
shall read Poushkin's Prophet,— a, little poem 
awfully difficult to read aloud ; they have purposely 



220 DOSTOEVSKY 

put me in the finale in order to produce an effect — 
I wonder if I shall ? Sharp at ten I returned home 
and found two cards from Souvorin saying that he 
will come at 10. The two cards were a mistake 
(they had stuck together), and as I thought from 
the second that he had already called and found 
me out, I drove to his hotel, the Slavianky Bazaar 
(not far from here), and I found him and his wife 
at tea. He was awfully pleased. The • Lovers of 
Literature ' have put him on the black list for his 
articles just as they have Katkov. He was not 
even given an admission card for the morning 
sessions. I had one card (Varya's), which she had 
refused, and I offered it to him. He was delighted. 
He will pay them off later. He said that Burenin 
too was here. — At Chayev's we made an appoint- 
ment for to-morrow at the Armoury at one o'clock 
in the afternoon, where he will show us everything. 
Grigorovich and Viskovatov also wished to come. 
But I wonder if they will. They went away after 
nine straight from the session to the Hermitage 
and insisted tremendously that I should come, too, 
but I went to Souvorin. When Souvorin heard 
that we were going to-morrow to the Armoury 
Chamber he asked me to take him and his wife 
there, and afterwards suggested that we should all 
dine together at the Moscow Tavern, he and his 
wife, myself, Grigorovich and Viskovatov, and 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 221 

then drive to the Hermitage. He, poor thing, 
seems to be tied to his wife. He will certainly be 
at the evening sessions, where one pays for ad- 
mission. The rehearsal of the reading for the 
pupils of the schools has been abandoned. After 
to-morrow, the 5th, the trials begin ; all delegates 
are to appear at the Town Hall in frock-coats, and 
I am afraid I shall not have time to write to you. 
To-morrow a trainful of Petersburg delegates 
arrive at our Loskutnaya. On the 8th all will be 
over ; so on the 9th I '11 pay my visits, and on the 
10th I leave — at what hour I will write later. 
Maikov telegraphed that he was coming. Polonsky 
too. Now, that is all, my precious, so expect me 
on the 11th, and this I believe is for certain. Sou- 
vorin is asking for my speech. I positively do not 
know who to give it to or how to arrange it. Wait 
till he hears me at the reading. 

I warmly embrace you, my Anka. I kiss you a 
great many times for much — much and much. I 
kiss the little ones and bless them. You write that 
you have dreams, and that I do not love you. 
And I keep on having very bad dreams, nightmares 
every night about your being unfaithful to me 
with others. God knows it torments me terribly. 
I kiss you a thousand times. — Wholly your 

F. Dostoevsky. 

Kiss the children. 



222 DOSTOEVSKY 

XI 

Loskutnaya, Room 33, 
Moscow, June 5, 1880, 8 p.m. 

My lovely Anyutka, I have just received your 
lovely little letter of June 3rd and hasten to write 
to you quickly as much as I shall have time for. 
No, my darling, don't ask now for long letters, for 
there will hardly be time just to write you letters 
at all. Literally, the whole time, every minute, 
will now be occupied, and even that won't be enough 
for what is taking place here, — that 's certain, let 
alone for letters. To begin at the beginning. 
Yesterday morning myself, Souvorin, his wife, 
Burenin and Grigorovich were in the Kremlin, in 
the Armoury, where we examined all the ancient 
things ; Chayev, the inspector of the Armoury, 
showed them to us. After that we went to the 
Patriarch's sacristy. Having looked at everything, 
we went to Tiestov's for a snack and remained to 
lunch. After that I called for a short while on 
Anna Nicolayevna Englehardt and had to buy a 
few things in the shops. Then, as agreed, we went 
to the Hermitage Park. The Souvorins, Grigoro- 
vich, and the rest were already there. In the park 
I met nearly all the delegates who have recently 
arrived from Petersburg. All kinds of persons 
came up to me ; I can't remember them all. 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 223 

Gayevsky, Lentovsky, the singer Melnikov and 
others. I sat all the time at tea with the Souvorins 
and Burenin, and now and then with Grigorovich, 
who kept on coming and going away. And sud- 
denly a rumour spread that the Celebration had 
been postponed. The rumour was spread by 
Melnikov. It was 11 o'clock, and I drove off to 
Yuriev. He was not at home, but I found his son 
and he assured me that it was nonsense. (And so 
it turned out to be.) Having come home I began 
to prepare myself for my reading on the evening 
of the 6th. It is, Any a, a stiff job. Imagine, 
the unveiling of the memorial will be on the 6th, 
and from 8 in the morning I shall be on my 
feet. At 2 o'clock the ceremony will be over, 
and the Solemn Service at the University begins. 
(No, upon my word, I shan't go on.) After that 
dinner at the Mansion House, and the very same day, 
at 9 o'clock in the evening, tired, exhausted, 
crammed with food and drink, 1 have to read the 
monologue of the Chronicler (from Boris Godounov) 
— a most difficult thing to read aloud, requiring 
calmness and control of the subject. I feel I am 
not yet ready. Moreover, the evening almost 
starts with me — the most inconvenient position. I 
sat till 4 o'clock in the morning, and unexpectedly 
this morning after 9 o'clock I was awakened by 
Zolotariov who has at last arrived. I slept alto- 



224 DOSTOEVSKY 

gether 5J hours. After him came Fiodor Petrovich 
Kornilov, after them Lopatin with the wreaths 
(the wreaths cost 14, not 17 roubles, but without 
ribbons). The ribbons, as well as to-morrow's 
to-do, I handed over to Zolotariov. So I shall have 
to pay the 14 roubles for the wreaths myself. True, 
Zolotariov will have to pay just as much for the 
rest of the accessories. At 2 o'clock we set off 
to the Mansion House. All delegations (there are 
a hundred delegations) presented themselves to 
Prince Oldenburgsky, etc. The ceremonial, the 
fuss, the chaos — I don't describe ; it is too im- 
possible to describe. I saw and spoke even with 
Poushkin's daughter. Ostrovsky, the local Jupiter, 
came up to me. Turgenev, very amiable, ran up. 
The other liberal groups, amongst them Plescheyev 
and even the lame Yazykov, bear themselves with 
reserve and almost haughtily, as if to say : You 
are a reactionary, but we are radicals. And, 
generally, complete dissension has already begun. 
I am afraid that all these different tendencies 
existing side by side for so many days may end in 
a fight. The history of Katkov's exclusion from 
the Celebration revolts many people terribly. I 
came home and dined at home in the hope oi 
receiving a little letter from you and answering 
you, then to go through Pirnen and my speech, 
afterwards to prepare my shirt and frock-coat foi 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 225 

to-morrow, and then go to bed earlier. But 
Gaydebourov came in, and suddenly after him 
Maikov, and then Viskovatov. Maikov came (to 
Moscow) to read his poems. He is all right, nice ; 
having a sniff round. I talked to them for a while, 
but sent them off soon. I am finishing these lines. 
Zolotariov does not come, and the wreaths are 
not finished. This morning I was at Varya's. 
To-morrow all day long until night I shall be busy. 
After to-morrow there will be the session of the 
4 Lovers of Literature,' but I am not reading at 
that session, and after that there will be a dinner 
for 500 guests with speeches, and perhaps a free 
fight. Then on the morning of the 8th there is my 
speech at the session of the ' Lovers of Literature,' 
and in the evening, at the second festivity of the 
4 Lovers ' I among others am reading several 
poems of Poushkin, and finishing with The Prophet. 
You write that I ought to leave on the 8th, but it 
is only on the 9th that I shall be paying my visits. 
I '11 leave on the 10th and arrive on the 11th, and 
this only if I am not detained for one more day, 
which is quite possible. But I '11 let you know 
then. It is much better for me to leave by the 
1 p.m. train, than by the morning train, for in the 
first case I shall miss only one night's sleep, but in 
the second I shan't sleep two nights, for the night 
before leaving I shan't sleep or I '11 get up at 6. 

p 



226 DOSTOEVSKY 

Letters about my own triumphs I shan't have to 
write, since my day is on the 8th, and on the 6th 
I am only reading Pimen. Think it over, the 
speech will have to be published. Although there 
are three claimants, Yuriev is again drawing back, 
and Katkov after his affair might perhaps become 
completely indifferent to the whole business of 
the ceremony, and Souvorin, for all I know, may 
not repeat his request. Then it would be bad. 
Therefore it is quite possible that I may be back 
one day late. Recently I received 18 roubles 75 
kopecks from Alexandrov. I called on Varya and 
I seem to have said my good-byes. She is going 
to her daughter in the country. — Good-bye for now, 
my darling. There are of course a thousand things 
one can't manage to write in a letter ; what can 
one say in a letter ? But now there is no time, no 
time at all to write letters ! Even this minute I 
am all exhausted and worn out. And I have to 
sit up for a long time. And when shall I have my 
sleep out ? I embrace you warmly — warmly, the 
little ones I kiss terrifically and bless them. — Wholly 
your F. Dostoevsky. 

I don't want to write of love, for love is not in 
words, but in deeds. And when shall I get tc 
deeds ? They are long overdue. 

All the same I '11 try to find time to write you, il 
it 's onlv a few lines. 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 227 



XII 

Loskutnaya, Room 33, 

Moscow, June 7, 1880, 
Midnight. 

My lovely dearest darling Anya, I write in a hurry. 
The unveiling of the memorial took place yesterday, 
how then can I describe it ? Even twenty pages 
would not describe it, and I haven't a minute. 
This is the third night. I have slept for only five 
hours, — to-night will be the same. Then there 
was the dinner with speeches. 1 Then the reading 
with music at the evening literary festivity at the 
Noblemen's Assembly. I read the scene of Pimen. 
In spite of the impossible choice (for surely one 
cannot shout Pimen across a whole hall) and the 
fact that I had to read in the worst sounding hall, 
they say that it went off superbly, but that I was 
not very audible. I was received excellently ; 
they would not let me begin for a long time ; they 
kept applauding ; and after the reading they called 
me out three times. But Turgenev, who read 

1 On June 6th, the Moscow City Society gave a luncheon in the 
Hall of the Nobility to the delegations which had arrived for the 
unveiling of the Poushkin memorial. On the evening of the same 
day the ' Society of Lovers of Russian Literature ' gave a literary and 
musical soiree, at which Turgenev read Poushkin's poem The 
Cloud. 

On June 7th, the inaugural session of the ' Society of Lovers of 
Russian Literature ' took place, after which a subscription dinner, 
organised by the Society, was held. 




228 DOSTOEVSKY 

shockingly, was called out more often than I. 
Behind the scenes (a huge place in darkness) I 
noticed about a hundred young people, who began 
a frenzied shouting each time Turgenev appeared. 
It immediately occurred to me that they must be 
a claque put there by Kovalevsky. And so it 
turned out. To-day at the morning sitting be- 
cause of that claque Ivan Aksakov refused to make 
his speech after Turgenev (in which the latter 
underrated Poushkin, taking away from him the 
name of national poet), and he explained to me 
that the claqueurs were arranged beforehand and 
placed there by Kovalevsky (all of them are his 
students and all Westerners), in order to proclaim 
Turgenev as the head of their school of thought, 
and to humiliate us, in case we go against them. 
Nevertheless, the reception given to me yesterday 
was most wonderful, although only the pubUc in 
the chairs applauded. Besides, crowds of men 
and women kept on coming to me behind the scenes 
to press my hand. In the interval I crossed the 
hall, and a multitude of people, youths, greybeards, 
women, threw themselves at me, saying : ' You are 
our prophet, we are better men after reading the 
Karamazovs. 9 (In a word, I became convinced that 
the Karamazovs have a colossal significance.) To- 
day, coming out from the morning session, at which 
I did not speak, the same thing happened. On the 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 229 

staircase and at the cloak-room, men, women, and all 
sorts of people detained me. At the dinner in the 
evening two ladies brought me flowers. Some of 
them I recognised by their names — Mme. Tretiakov, 
Mme. Golokhvastov, Mme. Moshnin, and others. 
I '11 pay a visit to Mme. Tretiakov the day after 
to-morrow. (She is the wife of the Tretiakov who 
has a picture gallery.) To-day was the second 
dinner — the literary one, a couple of hundred 
people. The young generation met me at my 
arrival, hailed me, paid court to me, made frenzied 
speeches — and all this still before the dinner. At 
dinner many speeches were made and toasts given. 
I did not want to speak, but towards the end of the 
dinner many people jumped up from the table and 
forced me to speak. I said only a few words, — 
and there was a roar of enthusiasm, literally a roar. 
After that in the next hall they sat round me — a 
dense crowd — and spoke much and ardently (at 
the coffee and cigars). But when at half -past nine 
I got up to go home (two-thirds of the guests were 
still there), they shouted out ' Hurrah ! ' to me, 
in which even those who did not sympathise had 
to take part involuntarily. After that, all that 
crowd poured with me down the stairs, and without 
overcoats, with no hats on, came out into the street 
and put me into my cab. And suddenly they threw 
themselves on me to kiss my hands. Not one, but 



230 DOSTOEVSKY 

scores of people, and not students only, but grey- 
beards. No, Turgenev has only claqueurs, but my 
people have true enthusiasm. Maikov was there 
and witnessed all this ; he must have been surprised. 
Several people (strangers to me) said in a whisper 
that for to-morrow, at the morning sitting, a real 
row was prepared for me and Aksakov. To- 
morrow, the 8th, is my really fateful day : in the 
morning I read my speech, and in the evening I 
read twice, The She-Bear and The Prophet. The 
Prophet I intend to read well. Wish for me ! 
There is great commotion and excitement here. 
Yesterday at the Town Hall lunch Katkov ven- 
tured to make a long speech and did produce an 
effect, at least on a part of the public. Kovalevsky 
is outwardly very amiable to me, and in one toast 
he mentioned my name among others. Turgenev 
too. Annenkov tried to make up to me, but I 
turned away. You see, Anya, I have written to 
you, although my speech is not yet finally revised. 
On the 9th I am paying visits, and I must make 
up my mind definitely who I shall give my speech 
to. Everything depends on the effect it will make. 
I have stayed here a long time, spent a fair amount 
of money, but in all this I have laid a foundation 
for the future. I must now correct my speech, 
and get my linen ready for to-morrow. — To-morrow 
is my important debut. Am afraid I shall not have 






LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 231 

enough sleep. I am afraid of having a fit. — The 
Central Shop will not pay in spite of everything. 
Good-bye for now, my darling. I embrace you, do 
kiss the little ones. I '11 probably leave on the 
10th, and shall arrive on the night of the 11th. 
Be ready. I embrace you all warmly and bless 
you. — Your eternal and invariable 

F. Dostoevsky. 

This letter will probably be the last. 

XIII 

Loskutnaya, Room 33, 
Moscow, June 8, 1880, 8 p.bi. 

My dear Anya, to-day I sent you yesterday's 
letter of the 7th, but now I can't help sending you 
also these few lines, although I am awfully tired 
out morally and physically. So perhaps you will 
receive this letter together with the preceding one. 
This morning was the reading of my speech at the 
4 Lovers.' г The hall was packed. No, Anya, no, 
you can never present to yourself nor imagine the 
effect it produced ! What are my Petersburg 

1 At the second special session on June 8th of the ' Society of 
Lovers of Russian Literature. ' Dostoevsky's speech appeared neither 
in the Russkaya My si, nor in the Russky Viestnik (with whose 
editors, Yuriev and Katkov, Dostoevsky, as we have seen, had 
been negotiating), but in the daily Moscowskya Viedomosti, No. 162, 
1880. It was republished in the sole number of The Journal of an 
Author for 1880. 



282 DOSTOEVSKY 

successes? Nothing, nothing at all, compared to 
this ! When I came out, the hall thundered ap- 
plause, and for a long, very long time, they would 
not let me speak. I bowed, made gestures, asking 
them to let me read — nothing was of any avail : 
raptures, enthusiasm (all because of the Kara- 
mazovs). At last I began reading : I was inter- 
rupted positively at each page, and at moments at 
each phrase, by a thunder of applause. I read 
loudly, with fire. All that I wrote about Tatyana 
was received with enthusiasm. (This is a great 
victory for our idea over the twenty-five years of 
delusions !) When at the end I proclaimed the 
universal union of people, the hall was as though 
in hysterics, and when I finished, — I cannot tell 
you about the roar, about the wail of ecstasy : 
strangers among the public cried, wept, embraced 
one another, and swore to one another to be better, 
not to hate one another from henceforth, but to love. 
The order of the session was upset ; all rushed to 
me to the platform — grand ladies, students, Secre- 
taries of State, students — all embraced, kissed me. 
All the members of our Society who were on the 
platform embraced me and kissed me, and all, 
literally all, cried for ecstasy. The calls for me 
lasted half an hour ; they waved their handker- 
chiefs ; suddenly, for instance, two old men, 
strangers to me, stopped me : ' We have been 



I 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 233 

enemies for twenty years, we have not spoken to 
one another, and now we have embraced and made 
peace. It is you who have reconciled us. You are 
our saint, you are our prophet ! ' ' Prophet, 
prophet ! ' the crowd shouted. Turgenev, about 
whom I had put in a good word in my speech, 
threw himself at me to embrace me with tears. 
Annenkov ran up to press my hand and kiss my 
shoulder. ' You are a genius, you are more than 
a genius ! ' they both said to me. Ivan Aksakov 
ran up to the platform and declared to the public 
that my speech — is not a mere speech, but a political 
event ! A cloud had been hiding the horizon, and 
now Dostoevsky's words, like the sun, have driven 
it away, have shed their light upon all. From this 
moment begins true brotherhood, and there will 
be no more misunderstanding. 4 Yes, yes ! ' they 
all cried, and embraced again, and wept again. 
The sitting was closed. I tried to escape behind 
the scenes, but everybody forced their way in there 
from the hall, mostly women. They kissed my 
hands, would not let me be. The students rushed 
in. One of them, in tears, fell down before me on 
the floor in hysterics and lost consciousness. Com- 
plete, completest victory ! Yuriev rang his bell and 
announced that the 'Society of Lovers of Russian 
Literature ' unanimously elected me honorary 
member. Again wailing and shouting. After an 



234 DOSTOEVSKY 

interval almost of an hour the session was resumed. 
All the other speakers had a mind not to read. 
Aksakov got up and declared that he would not 
read his speech since all had been said and all had 
been solved by the great word of our genius — 
Dostoevsky. However, we all made him speak. 
The reading went on, and meanwhile a conspiracy 
was arranged. I was worn out and wanted to go 
home, but they forced me to stay. In that one 
hour they managed to get a sumptuous laurel 
crown, a yard and a half across, and at the end of 
the sitting a number of ladies (over a hundred) 
stormed the platform and crowned me in sight of 
the whole hall with the wreath : ' From women of 
Russia, of whom you spoke so much good ! ' All 
cried ; enthusiasm again. Tretyakov, the Lord 
Mayor, thanked me on behalf of the City of Moscow. 
— Admit, Anya, that for this it was worth staying 
on : this is a pledge for the future, a pledge for 
everything, should I even die. — When I came home, 
I received your letter about the new-born foal, 
but you write so unfeelingly about my staying on. 
In an hour's time I '11 go off to read at the second 
literary festivity. I shall read The Prophet. To- 
morrow — visits. After to-morrow, on the 10th I 
am leaving. On the 11th I shall be at home, 
unless anything very important detains me. The 
speech must be placed, but to whom shall I give 



LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 235 

it ? They are all tearing it between them. Terrible ! 
Good-bye for now, my dear, desirable and precious 
one. I kiss your little feet. I embrace the children, 
I kiss them, — bless them. I kiss the foal. I bless 
you all. My head is queer, my hands and feet 
shake. Good-bye for now, for a little while. — 
Yours all and wholly F. Dostoevsky. 



DOSTOEVSKY AND POBIEDONOSZEV : 
SOME LETTERS 



DOSTOEVSKY AND POBIEDONOSZEV 

Dostoevsky's acquaintance with Pobiedonoszev, during 
the last ten years of his life (1871-1881), is an episode 
of great interest in the social history of that time, and 
of importance in the history of Dostoevsky's life as 
man and author. Up till now no light has been thrown 
upon it. 

Dostoevsky met Pobiedonoszev in the winter of 
1871-1872 at the house of Prince Meschersky, the 
editor of the reactionary paper Grazhdanin. The 
acquaintance continued and developed, and in the year 
1873 (when Dostoevsky was editor of the Grazhdanin) 
it ripened into friendship. Of the first moment of 
their friendship, Dostoevsky wrote to his wife (on June 
26, 1873) : ' Pobiedonoszev came yesterday to the office 
of the Grazhdanin. He waited for me, but I was out ; 
so he left a note asking me to call on him after 8 o'clock. 
I called last night and sat with him till about midnight. 
He talked all the time, told me a great deal, and pressed 
me to go and see him again to-day. He said that I 
was to let him know if I did not feel well enough, and 
he would come to me instead. He wrapped me up in 
a rug, and although the maid ran to the hall to let me 
out, he himself saw me down three dark flights of 
stairs, with a candle in his hands, to the porch. What 
would Vladislavlev say if he had seen it ? He read 
Crime and Punishment when he was in the Isle of Wight, 
for the first time in his life. It was recommended to 

239 



240 DOSTOEVSKY 

him by a certain person, an admirer of mine already 
too well known to you [probably the Tsarevitch], whom 
he escorted to England. Consequently things aren't 
so very bad. But please don't talk about it.' 

The description of the meeting and of the unex- 
pectedly cordial and attentive reception from the 
omnipotent Pobiedonoszev shows that Dostoevsky 
was at his house for the first time, and was affected by 
Pobiedonoszev 's attitude to him. From the first 
Pobiedonoszev had a warm regard for him. In a 
letter to Aksakov on January SO, 1881, Pobiedonoszev 
wrote : ' The time when he edited the Grazhdanin 
brought us close together. At that time, in sympathy 
for his desperate position, I worked with him the whole 
summer, and we became very friendly.' Their friend- 
ship grew, and they used to meet regularly on Saturday 
evenings. 



Staraya Roussa, May 19, 1879. 

Dear and much respected Konstantin Petrovich, 
although to-day is only the 19th of May, my letter 
will not reach you earlier than the 21st, and there- 
fore I hasten to congratulate you on your birthday. 
I remember, by the way, that exactly a year ago 
I came to you this very day in the morning, and it 
seems to me that it was only a fortnight or three 
weeks ago, or at most a month — so impossibly 
quickly time passes ! I have now been here a 
month alone with my family and have seen hardly 
any one. The weather has been fine on the whole, 
the bird-berry tree and apple tree shed their blossom 
long ago here, and the lilac is in full bloom. I have 
sat and worked, but have not done much ; I sent 
off, however, half the book (2J folios) [part of The 
Brothers Karamazov] for the May number of the 
Russky Viestnik, but I am sitting waiting for the 
proofs, and I do not know what is going to happen. 
The point is that this book of the novel is the cul- 
minating one. It is entitled * Pro and Contra,' and 
the theme of the book is : denial of God and the 

Q 



242 DOSTOEVSKY 

refutation of this denial. The denial now is finished 
and sent off, but the refutation will only come in 
the June number. The denial I described just as 
I felt it myself and realised it strongest, that is, 
just as it is now taking place in our Russia in nearly 
the whole upper stratum of society, and above all 
with the young generation. I mean, the scientific 
and philosophical refutation of the existence of 
God has been given up, it no longer occupies at all 
socialists of to-day (as it occupied them throughout 
the whole of the last century and the first half of 
the present one) ; instead, men are denying with all 
their might and main the divine creation, the world 
of God and its meaning. These are the only things 
which modern civilisation finds utter nonsense. I 
flatter myself with the hope that even in such an 
abstract theme I have not betrayed realism. The 
refutation of this (not a direct, not a face to face 
refutation) will appear in the last word of the 
dying old monk. — Many critics have reproached 
me because I generally choose for my novels themes 
that are not right, are not real, and so on. I, on 
the contrary, know nothing more real than just 
these themes. . . . 

I sent it off all right, and yet I have a presenti- 
ment that for some reason they may suddenly decide 
not to publish it in the Russky Viestnik. But enough 
of that. One goes on talking of one's worries. I 



LETTERS TO POBIEDONOSZEV 243 

read the newspapers here and understand nothing. 
They simply write of nothing. Only yesterday I 
read in the Novoye Vremya about the order of the 
Minister of Education that teachers should refute 
socialism in class (and therefore should enter into 
discussions with the pupils ?). The idea is so 
dangerous that it passes understanding. 

When I arrived here the talk was about the 
officer Dubrovin of the local Vilmanstrand regiment 
(who was hanged). They say he pretended mad- 
ness up to the very rope, although it might not 
have been pretence, for he was incontestably mad 
without it. But when one begins to judge from 
an example before one's eyes, one is for the hun- 
dredth time struck with two facts which with us 
in Russia are unchangeable. Thus : consider only 
the regiment in which Dubrovin was, and, on the 
other hand, himself. One sees such a difference 
between them that they appear as beings from 
different planets ; and yet Dubrovin lived and 
acted in the firm belief that every one, the whole 
regiment, would suddenly become like himself, and 
would be occupied only by that which concerned 
him. On the other hand, we say immediately : 
they are mad. Yet those madmen have their 
logic, their doctrine, their esse, their God even, and 
they are planted in them as firm as firm can be. 
This is left out of consideration. Nonsense, people 






244 DOSTOEVSKY 

say. It is not like anything they know, therefore 
it is nonsense. It is culture we have not got, dear 
Konstantin Petrovich (the culture which exists 
everywhere else), and it is not there because of the 
nihilist, Peter the Great. It was torn out by the 
root. And since man does not live by bread alone, 
our poor, uncultured man involuntarily invents 
something most fantastical, most absurd, and most 
unlike anything. (For although he has taken 
absolutely everything from European socialism, 
yet even this he has remade so that it is unlike 
anything.) 

Now I 've written four pages, and see, dear 
Konstantin Petrovich, I 've written you exactly 
what I did not want to write ! But there 's nothing 
to be done. I press your hand closely and send 
you my sincere wish for all that is best, and for 
long, long life. I am pleased now that you will 
receive these words of mine and that you will read 
them. 

If you write me even a single line, you will greatly 
support my spirit. In the winter too I came to 
you to heal my spirit. 

May God send you peace of mind — I know not 
what to wish a man more than this in these days 
of ours. 

My deep bow to your much respected wife. — Your 
absolutely devoted servant, F. Dostoevsky. 



LETTERS TO POBIEDONOSZEV 245 



II 

Bad-Ems, August 9-21, 1879. 

Much respected Konstantin Petrovich, I have 
not replied up till now to your superb letter ad- 
dressed to me to Staraya Roussa, for I thought to 
see you personally, if only for one minute, on my 
way to Ems ; I went to your house (by the Finnish 
church) but did not find you, though the porter 
told me that you came there frequently. I was 
very sorry, for from you I always hear a living and 
strengthening word, and it was just support I 
needed. I went to Ems perfectly ill. My angina 
pectoris got so much worse in Staraya Roussa 
because of the bad weather during the whole summer, 
that I was ill not only in body, but also in spirit. 
Added to this, my hard work on the Karamazovs, 
and, finally, the painful effect of contemplating 
what is going on, and the ' Mad House ' of the 
Russian Press and intellectuals. 

I have been here now three weeks taking the 
cure, and I wonder what will come of it ; for, at the 
present exchange, my journey cost me 700 roubles, 
which (it may turn out) might very, very well 
have been saved for the family. I lie here and 
continuously think that I will, clearly, die soon — 
well, in a year Or two — and what is going to happen 



246 DOSTOEVSKY 

to the three little golden heads after me ? It 's 
true, here I am generally in the most gloomy mood. 
A narrow defile, rather picturesque as a landscape, 
but which I have been visiting for four summers 
now, and in which I hate each stone, for it is diffi- 
cult even to imagine how much home-sickness I 
have suffered here during my four visits. The 
present visit is the most awful : a crowd of many 
thousands of all sorts of riff-raff from all Europe 
(Russians there are few, and those only the utterly 
unfamiliar ones from the Russian borders) crammed 
into a narrow space ; no one to exchange a single 
word with, and above all — it is all strange, all 
completely strange — this is unbearable. And I 
have to go on like this up to our September, i.e. 
five whole weeks. And mark you : literally half 
of them are Jews. When in Berlin, on my way, 
I observed to Pouzykovich that, in my view, Ger- 
many, Berlin at any rate, was becoming Judaised. 
And here I read in the Moscowskya Viedomosti an 
extract from a pamphlet, which has just appeared 
in Germany, Where is the Jew here? It is an 
answer by a Jew to a German who dared to write 
that Germany was becoming Judaised in all re- 
spects. ' There is no Jew,' the pamphlet says, 
and there is a German everywhere ; but if there 
is no Jew, there is everywhere a Jewish influence, 
for, it alleges, the Jewish spirit and nationality are 



LETTERS TO POBIEDONOSZEV 247 

higher than the German, and they have indeed 
inculcated in Germany the spirit of speculative 
realism, etc. etc. Thus, my view turned out to be 
right ; the Germans and Jews themselves testify 
to it. But apart from the speculative realism 
which is rushing upon us also, you can't believe 
the dishonesty of everything here, in commerce 
at any rate. The present-day German trader 
not only deceives the foreigner (this would yet 
be pardonable), but he literally robs him. When I 
complained of it here, I was told, with a laugh, 
that the Germans also were treated in the same 
way. Well, never mind ! When I came here I 
instantly sat down to my work again and, at last, 
the day before yesterday I sent off to Moscow the 
August quota (of the Karamazovs). It will appear 
on August 31. It is the sixth book of the novel and 
is called A Russian Monk. (N.B. — Biographical 
data of the life of old Zosima and a few of 
his precepts.) I expect abuse from the critics ; 
although I myself know that I have not accom- 
plished even a tenth part of what I wanted to do, 
yet pay attention to this fragment, much respected 
and dear Konstantin Petrovich, for I should very 
much like to know your opinion. I wrote this book 
for a few, and consider it the culminating point of 
my work. Apropos, this year I shall not finish 
the novel : the third and last part will remain for j 



248 DOSTOEVSKY 

next year. — And now I am sitting down again to 
work here. 

In Berlin I met Pouzykovich. He will probably 
be helped by some one ; he gave me his word that 
in three days' time he would bring out the promised 
number of the Grazhdanin in Berlin, but he has not 
brought it out yet. I don't think he '11 bring it 
out at all. I have observed one trait in him : he 
is a lazybones and incapable of work. You know, 
up till recently I took an interest in him, but now 
he has driven me into despair. And he constantly 
throws the blame on others. But now I have 
written a whole letter, and all about myself. Do 
forgive me, much respected and dear Konstantin 
Petrovich. Your prisoners (Saghalien and all you 
wrote me about them) tortured my whole soul ; it is 
too intimate to me, in spite of the twenty-five years' 
distance. But about this in a personal talk. And 
now till the desired, happy meeting. — Wholly your 
and ever devoted to you, F. Dostoevsky. 

Ill 

Bad-Ems, August 24, 1879. 
Much respected and worthiest Konstantin Petro- 
vich, I received your two letters here and am 
deeply grateful to you for them, particularly for 
the first one in which you speak of my spiritual 



LETTERS TO POBIEDONOSZEV 249 

state. You are perfectly, deeply right, and your 
thoughts have only strengthened me. But I am 
sick in soul, and diffident. Sitting here, in sad 
and utter solitariness, I have become depressed 
against my will. However, I '11 ask you this : can 
one remain quiet in our time ? See, you yourself 
point out in your second letter (and what is a 
letter ?) all the unbearable facts which are taking 
place ; I am now busy with the novel (and I shall 
finish it only next year !), and yet I am tormented 
with the desire to continue The Journal of an 
Author, for there is, indeed I have, something to 
say — and just as you would wish — without barren, 
behind-scenes polemics, but with a firm and fearless 
word. And every one now, those even who have 
something to say, are afraid. What are they 
afraid of ? Positively — of a ghost. The l common- 
European ' ideas of science and enlightenment 
stand despotically over every one, and no one dares 
to speak. I understand too well why Gradovsky's 
last articles, greeting the students as the intelli- 
gentsia, had such a tremendous success with our 
4 Europeans.' The fact of the matter is that he 
sees the whole remedy for all the present-day 
horrors of our unsettledness in that very Europe, 
in Europe alone. My literary position (I never 
spoke to you about this) I consider almost pheno- 
menal : as a man steadily writing against European 



250 DOSTOEVSKY 

principles, who has compromised himself for ever 
with The Possessed, that is, by his reaction and 
obscurantism — how that man, apart from all 
Europeanisers, their reviews, their newspapers, 
their critics, is yet acknowledged by our young 
generation, by that very unsettled nihilism-ridden 
young generation, etc. ? This has been expressed 
to me by them, from many places, in individual 
declarations and by whole bodies of them. They 
have already declared that from me alone they 
expect a sincere and sympathetic word, and that 
myself alone they consider as their leading writer. 
These declarations of the young generation are 
known to the literary workers, to the bandits of 
the pen and the sharpers of the Press, and they are 
very much impressed by it. Otherwise, how would 
they let me write freely ! They would devour me, 
like dogs, but they are afraid, and wonder con- 
fusedly what will come of it all. Here I read the 
nasty rag Golos, — Lord, how stupid, how abomin- 
ably lazy and stagnantly petrified. Believe me, 
my anger at times is transformed into positive 
laughter, for instance in reading the articles of 
the schoolboy thinker, E. Markov, on the woman 
question. It is sheer stupidity, the utter nakedness 
of stupidity. You say you did not like Pouzyko- 
vich's paper. Yes, indeed ; but it is quite im- 
possible to speak to that man, quite impossible to 



LETTERS TO POBIEDONOSZEV 251 

advise him. he is so touchily self-confident. Above 
all, he cares only about the circulation ; as to all 
the rest he does things with an extraordinarily easy 
conscience. Your opinion of what you read from 
the Karamazovs flattered me much (concerning 
the power and energy of the work), but you put at 
once the most necessary question : that for the 
time being I have not given a reply_to_all ^ those 
atheistic propositions, but the reply is urgent. 
That is just the point, and my whole trouble and 
my whole uneasiness is about that. For I had 
intended Book VI, The Russian Monk, to be as a 
reply to all this negative side ; it will appear on 
August 31. And therefore I fear on its account : 
will it be a suf ficient reply ? The more so because 

the answer is, indeed, not a direct one, not an 

. — 

answer to the propositions expressed before (in 

The Great Inquisitor and elsewhere) point by point, 
but an indirect one. In my reply is represented 
something directly opposite to the world-concep- 
tion expressed in the earlier book, but again it is 
represented not point by point, but, so to say, in 
an artistic picture. And that 's just what worries 
me, that is, shall I be understood and shall I 
achieve even a particle of my aim. Added to this 
are still the demands of art : I needed to represent 
a modest character and a majestic one, whereas 
life is full of comicality and is grand only in its 



252 DOSTOEVSKY 

inner sense, so that against my will, because of the 
demands of art, I was compelled in the life-history 
of my monk to touch also on some rather frjvnlnng 
side s, so as not to inj ure the artistic realism. Then 
there are the monk's precepts, at which people will 
just shout that they are absurd, for they are too 
ecstatic ; certainly, they are absurd in the every- 
day sense, but in the other, the inner sense, I think 
they are right. Anyhow, I worry much, and I 
should very much like to have your opinion, for I 
value and respect it very much. I wrote the book 
with great love. But I see I have talked too much 
about my work. On September 1 or 2, I shall be 
in Petersburg (hastening to Staraya Roussa to my 
family), I shall call on you (I don't know at what 
time, I can't settle beforehand), and if I am lucky 
I may find you in, and see you if only for a short 
while. Good-bye, kindest and sincerely respected 
Konstantin Petrovich, may God grant you many 
years to live — there can be no better wish in our 
time, for such men as you must live. Now and 
then a silly and sinful idea flashes across my mind : 
what will happen to Russia, if we, the last of the 
Mohicans, die ? True, I instantly smile at myself. 
Yet nevertheless we must live and work untiringly. 
And are not you a worker ? Apropos : Pouzyko- 
vich having heard from me the content of your 
letter concerning the dispatch of the prisoners to 



LETTERS TO POBIEDONOSZEV 253 

Saghalien, pressed me to let it be published in the 
Grazhdanin. Of course I did not let him have it. 
— Wholly your F. Dostoevsky. 

IV 

Staraya Roussa, May 19, 1880. 
Deeply esteemed Konstantin Petrovich, as in 
past years, so once again I cannot miss the 21st 
without wishing you, sincerely and from my whole 
heart, all that is best, all that you wish for yourself 
on your birthday. May God grant you health 
above all, and then supreme success in your new 
labours ! I send my message to your old flat and 
hope that the post-office knows your new address. 
Before my departure from Petersburg (exactly a 
week ago) I intended to come to see you without 
fail in order to take leave of you for the whole 
summer, and to ask your parting blessing, which, 
for a particular reason, I very much needed. But 
the bustle and anxieties of my departure decided 
otherwise, and I could not get to you. I did not 
come to Roussa here for rest and peace : I have 
to go to Moscow for the unveiling of the Poushkin 
memorial, as a delegate of the Slav Charitable 
Society. And it turns out, as I had foreseen, that 
I am going not for pleasure, but perhaps even for 
immediate unpleasantness. For the point at issue 
involves my most cherished and fundamental con- 



254 DOSTOEVSKY 

victions. While still in Petersburg I heard that in 
Moscow there is a certain clique which is trying to 
proscribe opinions contrary to its own at the 
anniversary, and that it fears certain reactionary 
words which might be said by others at the meetings 
of the • Lovers of Russian Literature,' who have 
taken upon themselves the whole arrangement of 
the anniversary. But in fact I was invited by 
Yuriev, the President of the Society, and the 
Society itself (from their official notice) is going to 
speak at the opening. The papers even have 
already published rumours about certain intrigues. 
I have prepared my speech on Poushkin precisely 
in the most extreme spirit of my convictions (ours, 
I venture to say). Therefore I anticipate some 
kind of attack. But I will not be disconcerted 
and am not afraid. I must serve my work and 
shall speak without fear. The professors are pay- 
ing court to Turgenev, who is becoming definitely 
a personal enemy of mine. (In the Viestnik 
Europa he let out some petty scandal about me 
concerning a certain happening, which never hap- 
pened, thirty-five years ago.) But praise Poushkin 
and glorify Verochka I cannot. There, why should 
I trouble you with small-talk ? But the real point 
is not the small-talk, but a public matter and a 
great one too, since Poushkin expresses precisely 
that idea, which we all (a tiny group as yet) serve. 



LETTERS TO POBIEDONOSZEV 255 

And this must be pointed out and expressed : that 
is just what is hateful to them [the Westerners]. 
Well, perhaps they will simply not allow me to 
speak my mind. In that case I shall publish my 
speech. 

I firmly press your hand, deeply esteemed 
Konstantin Petrovich. On my return I shall sit 
down to finish the Karamazovs. All the summer I 
shall be in labour. But I do not grumble, I love 
this labour. From next year onward I have already 
decided I shall renew without fail The Journal of 
an Author. Then I shall again turn to you (as I 
have done before) for advice which, I ardently 
believe, you will not refuse me. 

Meanwhile accept the assurance of my ardent 
devotion. — Your most humble servant, 

F. Dostoevsky. 

My wife congratulates you and scolds me because 
I have forgotten to mention her. 

V 

Staraya Roussa, July 25, 1880. 
Kindest and deeply esteemed Konstantin Petro- 
vich, you gladdened me very much by your 
letter, and still more by your promise not to forget 
me in the future. I finally decided not to go to 



256 DOSTOEVSKV 

Ems : I have too much work to do. Because of 
the chaos in the spring I neglected the Karamazovs, 
and now I have made up my mind to finish them 
before I go away from Staraya Roussa, and there- 
fore I sit down to them day and night. — Now about 
your commission : 

Father Roumyanzev is my old and true friend, 
the worthiest of the worthiest priests I ever knew. 
It is in his house that your Father Alexey Nadiozhin 
lives. The family of a certain M. Rot, of Peters- 
burg, rents a flat in the house of Roumyanzev for 
the summer season ; M. Rot is a Louga landowner, 
and proprietor of several houses in Petersburg ; 
however, he is ruined now. Alexey is a friend of 
the Rots and lives, although apart from the family, 
on the top in the attic, but, it seems to me, he 
simply hangs on for the time being to the Rots 
— though he gives lessons to the numerous Rot 
children. I saw him once before at Father 
Roumyanzev's, but only had a glimpse of him. 
On receiving your letter I immediately went to 
Roumyanzev, at 5 o'clock in the afternoon (quite 
close to me), and communicated to him in secret 
your commission, having made him promise not 
to say a single word to Father Alexey. Rou- 
myanzev and Father Alexey, although they are 
acquainted (they live in the same house), are not 
very much so. By my wish, Roumyanzev immedi- 



LETTERS TO POBIEDONOSZEV 257 

ately invited Father Alexey, who was walking in 
the garden, to tea which was ready on the table. 
Father Alexey, although he kept on refusing, at 
last came in, and I spent with him a whole hour, 
saying nothing to him about your commission. 
This is my observation and conclusion : 

He is forty-seven, bald, black-haired, sprinkled 
with grey. His face is rather fine looking, but 
flushed. He is evidently of a strong constitution. 
But positively ill. He is resigning his priesthood 
because of the absolute impossibility to officiate 
by reason of his ill-health. This is irrevocable, 
and himself he will never agree to remain a priest, 
as he himself declared to me several times during 
our conversation. His illness is a strange one, 
but, luckily, familiar to me, for I myself suffered 
of the same illness in the years 1847, '8, and '9. I 
also have a brother (still alive) who suffers from 
the same illness precisely. Its chief cause is a 
most violent abdominal plethora of blood. But 
in certain cases the fits of this illness bring on moral 
derangement, of the soul. A man gets infected 
with an unbounded suspicion and at last imagines 
himself to suffer from all diseases, and is continu- 
ously treated by doctors and treats himself. The 
chief cause is this, that haemorrhoids in this stage 
react on the nerves and upset them almost to the 
point of psychical fits. Father Alexey has now 

R 



258 DOSTOEVSKY 

been convinced for a few years that because of his 
haemorrhoids he is suffering from anaemia of the 
brain. ■ Last year I consented to officiate at the 
Easter matins,' he said, ' and I got so weak that 
my legs felt paralysed, I could not stand. Once I 
also officiated at vespers but could not finish. 
Since then I have ceased to officiate. I believe 
that if I were told now that to-morrow I should 
have to officiate, I should not sleep all night, but 
tremble, and certainly I should not be able to walk 
to the Church, but would faint.' (There is visible, 
at any rate, a very great conscientiousness in his 
devotion to his office* and to the administration of 
sacraments.) He formerly was a domestic priest 
of Voyekov's, then inspector of a charitable in- 
stitution in the Nevsky Lavra Monastery ; he gave 
many lessons, eight hours weekly. 4 When I 
finished the week, and Sunday came, I would sit 
at home lying on the couch the whole day and 
reading a book — it is a great delight ! ' Now he 
spends the whole time undergoing cures ; he drinks 
here some water specially prepared for him ; he 
loves to talk much of his diseases and with en- 
thusiasm. I do not know whether he is as ex- 
pansive on other topics also, for evidently he has 
no other topics now : he brings down everything 
immediately to the subject of his illness. He is 
artless and not sly, although he hardly has any 






LETTERS TO POBIEDONOSZEV 259 

great need of spiritual communion with people ; 
in spite of his artlessness he is somewhat suspicious, 
not only with regard to his diseases. I believe 
he is a perfectly honest man. The appearance 
of indubitable honesty. Of true convictions, far re- 
moved from Lutheranism, he looks upon Orthodox 
Russians of our educated society quite correctly. 
Conscientiousness he has, but has he ardour for 
spiritual work ? I do not know. Of the future 
he is not afraid : ' By himself alone, a man is not 
poor/ he said to me. He is rather hurt that on 
his request for assistance it was decided to pay 
him 48 roubles per annum, or to pay for him in 
the hospital, in case he goes there before he is 
cured. ' I have spent on cures all I had saved,' 
he said ; ' I did not trouble any one, and now they 
give me only 48 roubles ! ' Though, if ever he 
criticises, he does it without any great spite. The 
final trait : he seems to be rather fond of comfort, 
he loves a separate room, if only a single one, but 
well-arranged. He loves to be alone, loves to read 
a book, he is a bit of a maniac, but he does not 
avoid company. That is all I managed to observe. 
I send you a hasty photograph without retouching. 
But the chief and final observation — he would not 
for anything in the world continue being a priest. 
He has a rather independent air, is not insinuating, 
self-seeking, intriguing — all this is completely lack- 



260 DOSTOEVSKY 

ing in him. His motto is rather : ' Leave me 
alone.' 

Now, to conclude about myself : besides the 
Karamazovs, I am bringing out shortly, in Peters- 
burg, one number of The Journal of an Author, the 
only number for this year. In it is my speech in 
Moscow, a preface to it, written in Staraya Roussa, 
and, finally, a reply to my critics, chiefly to 
Gradovsky. But it is not a reply to the critics, 
it is my profession de foi for the whole future. In it 
now I express myself definitively and undisguisedly, 
I call things by their names. I think, all manner oi 
stones will be cast at me. I won't go further into 
the matter now ; it will come out in the very 
beginning of August, on the 5th or even earlier. 
but I would very much ask you, deeply respected 
friend, not to disdain to read The Journal and to 
tell me your opinion. What is written there is 
fateful to me. From next year I intend to renew 
The Journal of an Author, and now I appear such 
as I wish to be in the renewed Journal. 

I watch your valuable activity from the* news- 
papers. Your superb speech to the schoolgirls I 
read in the Moscowskya Viedomosti. Above all, 
God grant you health. One must not tire oneseli 
too much. Indeed, the chief thing is to give the 
lead. And a lead is organised only by a long action. 
I remember too well your words in the spring. 



LETTERS TO POBIEDONOSZEV 261 

Sod bless you. — Embracing you and affectionately 
ievoted to you. Your Fiodor Dostoevsky. 

P.S. — I do not know your address ! I address 
this simply to the Grand Procurator of the Holy 
Synod — perhaps it will reach you. 

VI 

Staraya Koussa, August 16, 1880. 

Deeply esteemed and kindest Konstantin Petro- 
vich, I thank you from my whole soul for your good, 
splendid, enheartening letter. Enheartening, in- 
deed, for I, as a man, always need the encourage- 
ment of those in whom I believe, whose under- 
standing and convictions I deeply respect. Every 
time I write something and send it for publication 
— I am as in a fever. Not that I did not believe in 
what I myself had written, but always the question 
torments me : how will it be taken ? Will people 
want to understand the essence of the matter ? 
Would it not rather result in bad than in good 
that I made public my intimate convictions ? The 
more so that I am always compelled to express 
certain thoughts only in the basic idea, which 
always greatly needs a further development and 
argumentation. And the opinion of men like you 
— is positively my support ! It means then, I 
was not mistaken in everything, it means, I was 



262 DOSTOEVSKY 

understood by those whose understanding and 
impartial judgment I value, and, therefore, my 
labour was not in vain. 

I tell you frankly : now I am finishing the 
Karamazovs, This last part, I myself see and 
feel, is so original and unlike what others write, 
that I positively do not expect the approval of our 
critics ; the public, the readers — that is a different 
matter : they always supported me. I should be 
deeply grateful to you if you give your attention 
to what will be published in the August number 
of the Russky Viestnik (which is now being printed), 
and then in the September number where the fourth 
and last part of the Karamazovs ends. In the 
September book will be a trial, our crown-prose- 
cutors and advocates — all this will be shown in a 
particular light. The Journal of an Author I 
decided to bring out in the coming year without 
fail. The present, ' only number for this year,' 
has had an indubitable success with the public : 
in three days up to 3000 copies sold in Petersburg 
alone, and I brought out altogether 4200 copies. 
I think I shall have to publish a second edition. 
My wife told me how kindly you had received her. 
I thank you for sending me the Varshavsky Dnievnik, 
Leontiev after all is a bit of a heretic — did you notice 
it ? Anyhow, of this I shall talk to you in person, 
when I come to Petersburg at the end of Sep- 



LETTERS TO POBIEDONOSZEV 263 

tember ; there 's much of interest in his opinions. 
— Accept, deeply respected Konstantin Petrovich, 
the assurance not only of my sincerest feelings, 
but also of my profound, great hope for all the 
good which I expect, and not only myself, but 
every one, from your new splendid activity. — Your 
adherent and admirer F. Dostoevsky. 



POBIEDONOSZEV'S LETTERS TO ALEX- 
ANDER III (at that time Tsarevitch) on 
the Occasion op Dostoevsky's Death 



January 29, 1881. 

Last night F. M. Dostoevsky passed away. He 
was a close friend to me, and it is sad that he is 
no more. 

But his death is a great loss to Russia too. In 
the circle of writers he — he alone almost — was an 
ardent preacher of the fundamental principles of 
religion, nationhood, love of the country. Our 
unhappy younger generation, gone astray like sheep 
without a shepherd, cherished a belief in him, and 
his influence was very great and beneficent. Many 
— unhappy young people — turned to him as to a 
confessor, personally and in writing. There is no 
one now to replace him. 

He was poor and left nothing except books. 
His family is in need. I am writing now to Count 
Loris-Melikov, and asking him to petition the Tsar 
and to ask that the Sovereign would please to take 
an interest. 

264 



POBIEDONOSZEV'S LETTERS 265 

Will not Your Highness support this applica- 
tion ? You knew and valued the deceased 
Dostoevsky from his works, which will for ever 
remain a memorial of the great Russian talent. 



II 

February 1, 1881. 

F. M. Dostoevsky was buried to-day in the 
Nevsky Lavra Monastery. It is very sad that he 
is no more. Eternal memory to him. I feel his 
loss very keenly : I had arranged for him a quiet 
hour, on Saturdays after vespers, and he often 
came to me, and we spoke much and long after 
midnight. 

Yesterday he was to bring out the first number 
of his Journal, and he had it quite ready ; and 
yesterday, on the day of his funeral the number 
appeared. In case it has not yet reached Your 
Highness, I enclose it herewith. There are in it 
splendid pages — from the very first. 

K. POBIEDONOSZEV. 

[As a result of Pobiedonoszev's application a 
pension of 2000 roubles was granted to Dostoevsky's 
widow.] 



BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX 



BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX 

Aksakov, Ivan Sergueyevich (1823-1886), the three 
volumes of whose autobiography, Years of Child- 
hood, A Russian Schoolboy, and A Russian Gentleman, 
have been translated into English by J. D. Duff. 

Aksakov, Nicolay Petrovich (1848-1909), doctor of 
philosophy, writer on theological and philosophical 
questions, and poet ; Secretary (1878-1880) of the 
\ Society of Lovers of Russian Literature.' 

Annenkov, Pavel Vassilevich (1812-1887), literary 
critic, first editor of Poushkin's Complete Works, 
and friend of Turgenev. 

Averkiev, Dmitrii Vassilevich (1836-1905), author and 
playwright. 

Barsov, Elpidifor Vassilevich (1837-1919)> ethnologist 
and archaeologist, collector of old manuscripts, 
member of the ' Society of Lovers of Russian 
Literature/ and librarian (in 1880) of the Tchertkov 
Town Library. 

Bartenev, Piotr Ivanovich (1829-1912), publisher of the 
Russky Arkhiv ; a Poushkin scholar. 

Bezsonov, P. A. (1828-1898), librarian of Moscow 
University, Secretary of the ' Society of Lovers 
of Russian Literature,' and professor of Slavonic 
languages at Kharkov University. 

269 



270 DOSTOEVSKY 

Bielinsky, Vissarion Gregorevitch, critic. In 1867 
Dostoevsky, at the request of K. I. Bibikov, wrote 
' My Reminiscences of Bielinsky/ Dostoevsky 
found it difficult to write that article and expressed 
his regret as follows : ' I was foolish enough to 
undertake that article. As soon as I started I saw 
at once that there was no possibility of making a 
decent job of it (for I wanted to write everything). 
Ten printed sheets of a novel would have been easier 
for me to write than those two sheets. The result 
was that I wrote that damnable article, on an average 
calculation, about Jive times, and then crossed out 
everything, and what was left I re-made anew. 
At last I managed to produce an article, — but so 
trashy, that it nauseates me. What masses of 
most valuable facts I was compelled to strike out ! 
As was to be expected, there remained only all the 
trashy and mediocre stuff. An abomination ! ' 
(See Biography, Part n. p. 178.) 

Burenin, Victor Petrovich (6. 1841), poet and journalist, 
literary critic of the Novoye Vremya. 

Ghayev, N. A. (1824-1914), playwright ; President 
(1878-1884) of the ' Society of Lovers of Russian 
Literature/ 

Danilevsky, Nicolay Yakolevich (1822-1885), author of 
the famous book Russia and Europe. (On December 
11 /23, 1868, Dostoevsky wrote to Maikov from 
Florence : ' I also had a letter from Strahov ; much 
literary news. I was delighted by the news about 
Danilevsky 's article " Europe and Russia," which 
Strahov describes as a capital thing. I own to you 
that since that very year 1849 I have heard nothing 



BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX 271 

of Danilevsky [i.e. since Dostoevsky's and 
Maikov's trial in connection with the Petrashevsky 
Group]. But I have thought of him at times. I 
remembered what a desperate Fourierist he had 
been. And to turn from Fourierism to Russia, to 
become a Russian again and to learn to love one's 
soil and essence ! That is how a big man can be 
recognised ! Turgenev has become a German in- 
stead of a Russian writer, — that is how a rotten man 
can be recognised. Nor shall I ever believe the 
words of the late Apollon Grigoryev, that Bielinsky 
would have ended by becoming a Slavophil. A man 
like Bielinsky would never have ended like that. 
He was only a scab — and nothing else. . . .') 

See Biography, Part п. pp. 200-201. (All the 
passages omitted there are now restored from the 
original letter.) 

Dolgomostiev, I. G., contributor to Vremya and Epocha ; 
according to N. N. Strahov, ' a noble and clever 
young man/ who died insane in 1867. 

Dostoevsky's brother, Andrey (1825-1897), civil 
engineer. In 1828 the Dostoevskys were entered 
in the third part of the Genealogical Book of the 
Moscow Province, owing to the official position of 
their father, the regimental surgeon, Mihail Andrey- 
evich Dostoevsky. 

Dostoevsky, Emily Fiodorovna, the widow of Dos- 
toevsky's brother, Mihail Mihailovich. 

Dostoevsky's children, Lilya and Fedya. Lilya (Lubov 
or Aimee) born in 1869, and Fedya (Fiodor) born in 
1871. 



272 DOSTOEVSKY 

Dostoevsky's nieces, Masha and Nina Ivanov, the 
daughters of his sister, Vera Mihailovna Ivanov. 
Masha was born in 1848 and Nina in 1857. 

Dostoevsky's elder brother, Mihail (1820-1864), was in 
1861 the official editor and publisher of Vremya С A 
Literary and Political Review '), of which the un- 
official editor was F. M. Dostoevsky. Its chief 
contributors were A. A. Grigoriev and N. N. Strahov. 
On May 24, 1863, Vremya was suppressed by the 
Government on account of N. N. Strahov's article, 
' The Fatal Question,' published in No. 4. In 
1864, in place of the suppressed Vremya, Mihail 
Dostoevsky began the publication of the review 
Epocha, which ceased to appear in 1865, after the 
second number, for lack of money to carry on. The 
Vremya had a fair number of subscribers, judged 
by Russian standards of the time. In 1861 the 
number was 2300, and in 1862 it had increased to 
4302. 

Dostoevsky's niece, Natasha (6. 1867), the youngest 
daughter of his sister, Vera Mihailovna. 

Dostoevsky, Nicolay Mihailovich, was the youngest 
brother of Fiodor. (1, Mihail ; 2, Fiodor ; 3, Audrey ; 
4, Nicolay.) 

Dostoevsky's sister, Vary a — or Varvara Mihailovna 
(b. 1822). 

Dostoevsky's sister, Vera Mihailovna (6. 1829), wife of 
Dr. Alexander Pavlovich Ivanov (1813-1868). 

Eliseyev, G. S., member of the editorial staff of the 
Sovremennik and Otechestvennya ZapisJd. 



BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX 273 

Englehardt, Anna Nicolayevna (1835-1903), translator, 
daughter of N. P. Makarov, the lexicographer, and 
the wife of A. N. Englehardt, publicist and model 
farmer. 

Gatzuk, Alexey Alexeyevich (1832-1891), archaeologist, 
publisher of Gatzuk's Newspaper and Gatzuk's 
Calendar. 

Gaydebourov, Pavel Alexandrovich (1841-1893), jour- 
nalist, editor and publisher of the Nedyelya. 

Gayevsky, Victor Pavlovich (1826-1888), a Petersburg 
barrister, one of the founders of and chief workers 
on the ' Literary Fund ' ; a Poushkin scholar ; 
delegate from the Petersburg Branch of the Russian 
Musical Society, from the Petersburg Conserva- 
toire, and from the ' Literary Fund ' to the Poushkin 
Celebration. 

Golokhvastov, probably Olga Andreyevna, nee Andrey- 
evsky, author, and wife of P. D. Golokhvastov, 
author and social worker. 

Grigorovich, Dmitri Vassilevich (1822-1899)» novelist, 
delegate of the ' Literary Fund ' to the Poushkin 
Celebration. 

Grot, Yakov Karlovich (1812-1893), Academician, 
linguist, historian of Russian literature, and editor 
of the works of 18th and 19th century Russian 
authors ; member of committee for the erection of 
the memorial to Poushkin. 

Isayev, Pavel Alexandrovich, Dostoevsky's stepson, the 
son of his first wife, Marie Dmitrievna, by her first 
marriage. P. A. Isayev was a heavy cross in the 
life of the Dostoevskys ; Anna Gregorevna mentions 

s 



274 DOSTOEVSKY 

him more than once in her Reminiscences. Lubov 
Fiodorovna Dostoevsky , in her Reminiscences of her 
father, published last year in Munich (and recently 
translated into English and published in this country) 
tells a new, curious, but improbable story of her 
father's first marriage : 

4 On her coming from Kuznetsk to Semipalatinsk, 
Marie Dmitrievna (Dostoevsky 's first wife) managed 
to arrange a cosy home which became the gathering- 
place of the local intellectuals. Dostoevsky 's con- 
jugal happiness continued even after his return to 
European Russia ; but it all turned out to be a 
phantom. His wife's health began to grow worse. 
He had to remove her from Petersburg to Tver. 
And here, with one foot in the grave, she made a 
terrible confession to her husband. She said that 
she had married him out of pure convenience, 
tempted by his literary fame and connections ; that 
the night before their wedding she had spent with 
her lover, a young, beautiful tutor, and that she 
continued her liaison with him during the whole of 
her married life. He always — she said — followed 
her like her shadow, and it was only when she lost 
her good looks owing to consumption that he dis- 
appeared without leaving his address. Marie 
Dmitrievna declared to her husband that she not 
only did not love him, but that she just despised 
him, as a former convict. . . . Dostoevsky left his wife 
and went off to Petersburg. . . .' 

The exactness of these data can be tested very 
easily by reference to Anna Gregorevna's Reminis- 
cences, as well as to Dostoevsky 's letters. Dostoev- 
sky 's first marriage was, indeed, a failure. His 



BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX 275 

married life began stormily : with scenes of mutual 
jealousy ; but the very fact mentioned by Anna 
Gregorevna, that Dostoevsky fulfilled the last wish 
of his first wife ' to love Pasha ' and all his life long 
continued to help his stepson who caused him 
trouble, worry and unpleasantness, makes the 
authenticity of the daughter's story about her father 
rather doubtful. The daughter's assertion that her 
father left his dying wife in Tver and himself rushed 
off to Petersburg is refuted by Dostoevsky 's letter 
to his brother, Mihail Mihailovich, sent from Moscow 
on April 15, 1864, on the eve of her death. (Marie 
Dmitrievna Isayev-Dostoevsky died not in Tver, as 
Dostoevsky 's daughter writes, but in Moscow) : 
4 Yesterday Marie Dmitrievna was seized with a 
positive fit : blood gushed from her throat and 
began pouring over her bosom and choking her. We 
all awaited the end. We were all round her. She 
took leave of every one, became reconciled to every 
one, and made known all her requests. She sent 
greetings to your whole family and wished you a 
long life. She particularly wished Emily Fiodor- 
ovna a long life. She expressed her desire to be 
reconciled to you. (You know, my friend, she was 
all her life convinced that you were her secret 
enemy.) She has passed a bad night. To-day, this 
moment, Alexander Pavlovich has said definitely, 
that she will die to-day. And there is no doubt of 
it.' In postscript F. M. Dostoevsky adds : ' Marie 
Dmitrievna is dying peacefully, in sound mind. She 
blessed Pasha (P. A. Isayev) in his absence.' 

Nevertheless, that there was almost constant ill- 
feeling towards Dostoevsky on the part of his step- 



276 DOSTOEVSKY 

son and his sister-in-law is manifest. So great was 
it that when the little Sonia died (May 16/28, 1868), 
Dostoevsky asked that the news should be kept 
from them for a time, and wrote : ' It seems to me 
that not only will none of them regret the death of 
my child, but perhaps the very opposite, and the 
mere thought of that exasperates me. What wrong 
has the poor child done them ? Let them hate me, 
let them laugh at me and at my love, — that I don't 
mind/ 

(See Biography, Part n. p. 187. The phrases 
omitted there are here restored from the original.) 

Kalachov, Nicolay Vassilevich (1819-1885), historian, 
jurist, Senator and Keeper of the Moscow Archives 
of the Ministry of Justice. 

Kasatkin, Nicolay (Yaponsky) (1836-1912), Bishop of 
Reval, the head of the Russian Orthodox Mission in 
Japan. 

Katkov, Mihail Nikiforovich (1818-1887), reactionary 
publicist, editor of the monthly review Russky 
Viestnik and of the daily Moscorvskya Viedomosti. 

Khmyrov, Dmitri Nicolay evich (b. 1847), teacher of 
mathematics, husband of Dostoevsky 's niece, Sophie 
Ivanov (b. 1847). 

K. K., probably the Grand Duke Konstantin Kon- 
stantinovich Romanov. 

Kornilov, Fiodor Petrovich (1809-1895), member of the 
State Council, State Secretary ; member and 
director of the committee for the erection of the 
Poushkin memorial. 



BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX 277 

Kovalevsky, Maxim Maximovich (1851-1916), historian 
of law, sociologist, professor at Moscow University 
(1877-1887), held the chair of State Law. 

Krayevsky, Andrey Alexandrovich (1810-1889), jour- 
nalist, publisher of the review Otechestvennya 
Zapiski and of Golos ; delegate from the Society of 
the City of Petersburg, and from the * Literary 
Fund ' to the Poushkin Celebration. 

Lavrov, Platonov, Suffragan Bishop Alexey (1829-1890), 
Bishop of Mozhaysk, second Suffragan Bishop of 
Moscow, subsequently Archbishop of Vilna and 
Lithuania. 

Lavrov, Vukol Mihailovich (1852-1912), publisher and 
translator ; brought out the monthly review Russ- 
kaya My si from 1880 onwards. (He is described by 
Dostoevsky, in his letter of May 27.) 

Lento vsky, Mihail Valentino vich (d. 1906), theatrical 
manager. 

Lopatin, probably Lev Mihailovich Lopatin (1855-1920), 
subsequently professor at the Moscow University ; a 
philosopher with a tendency towards spiritualism. 

Lubimov, Nicolay Alexeyevich (1800-1897), professor 
at Moscow University, physicist, also publicist and 
co-editor with Katkov of the Russky Viestnik. 

Maikov, Apollon Nicolayevich (1821-1897), poet and 
journalist, and friend of Dostoevsky. It is to 
Maikov and Strahov that most of the already known 
letters of Dostoevsky are addressed. 

Marie Alexandrovna, the wife of Alexander II, died on 
May 22, 1880. 



278 DOSTOEVSKY 

Markevich, Boleslav Mihailovich (1822-1884), novelist, 
who published in the Russky Viestnik for 1880, the 
second part of his trilogy, the novel entitled 
Crisis. 

Melnikov, Ivan Alexandrovich (1831-1906), baritone 
singer, actor at the Maryinsky Theatre, Petersburg. 

Mengden, Countess, probably Zinaida Nicolayevna, nee 
Bourtsev, the wife of Count Georgy Fiodorovich 
Mengden, Major-General, Brigade Commander of 
the 1st Horse Guards Division. 

Merenberg, Nathalie Alexandrovna (1836-1913), Poush- 
kin's daughter, morganatic wife of Prince Nicolas of 
Nassau. 

Novikov, Olga Alexeyevna (1840-1921), nie Kireyev, a 
Slavophil writer who wrote on Anglo-Russian rela- 
tions and signed her articles О. K. She spent most 
of her life in England. 

Oldenburgsky, Prince Piotr Georgevich (1812-1881), the 
Chairman of the committee for the erection of the 
Poushkin memorial. 

Ostrovsky, Alexander Nicolayevich (1825-1893), a prolific 
and distinguished dramatist, only one of whose 
plays, The Storm, has been translated into English 
(by Constance Garnett), although several have 
appeared in French. 

Pavlischev, Lev Nicolayevich (b. 1834), the son of Poush- 
kin's sister, author of reminiscences of his uncle ; 
had a post at the Chief Commissariat Board. 

Petrov, A. K. Of this Geneva priest Dostoevsky wrote 
to Maikov on August 19 ? 1869 '• ' From all the data 
(mark you, not from guesses, but from facts) I know 



BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX 279 

he is employed by the secret police/ — Biography t 
Part и. p. 192. 

Pisemsky, Alexey Feofilaktovich (1820-1881), novelist, 
several of whose works are to be read in French — 
e.g. Dans le Tourbillon and Mille Ames. 

Plescheyev, Alexey Nicolayevich, poet, delegate of the 
paper Molva to the Poushkin Celebration. He was 
born in Kostroma on November 22, 1825, and, like 
Dostoevsky, was entered in the lists of the Moscow 
Nobility. Both were condemned to death, but 
instead of being executed were exiled and deprived 
of their status of nobility. 

In the Archives of the late Moscow Deputies' 
Councils have been found documents relating to 
the exclusion of Dostoevsky from the lists of 
Moscow Nobility. (The Archives of the Moscow 
Deputies' Council relating to the State-criminals 
Plescheyev and Dostoevsky, No. 62, 1850. The 
hearing began on July 12, 1850. It was concluded 
on September 1, 1850.) In this case two documents 
are of interest : the first is the copy of the instruc- 
tion of the late Minister of the Interior (later the 
Moscow Civil Governor) concerning the Gracious 
Order of H.I. M. to deprive Plescheyev and Dostoev- 
sky as State-criminals of all rights of status, with the 
statement of the nature of their crime and the 
measures taken for their punishment. The second 
document is the accompanying report of the Chief 
of the Moscow Province addressed to Prince 
Golizyn. (Prince Golizyn (1800-1 873) was Marshal 
of Nobility from 1848 to 1861 of the Zvenigorod 
District of the Moscow Province, and from 1859 



280 



DOSTOEVSKY 



chief director of the Golizyn Hospital. P. P. Novo- 
silzev (1797-1869), vice-Governor of Moscow from 
1831 to 1851 ; subsequently Governor of Ryazan.) 



* Ministry of the 
Interior. 
Chief of the 
Moscow Government. 

Clerks* Office. 



No. 11176. 
July 6, 1850. 



Moscow. 
Re State-Criminals. 



1 To His Excellency 
M. F. Golizyn, 
Ministry of the 
Interior. 

Department of the 
Police Executive. 

Branch II., 
Table 2. 

July 15, 1850, 
No. 254. 



Received on July 12. 



Dear Sir, 

Prince Mihail Fiodorovich. 

The Copy of the Instruction 
issued by the Minister of the 
Interior, of June 15, under 
No. 254, with the declaration 
of the Gracious Order relating 
to the State-Criminals Plesche- 
yev and Dostoevsky, I con- 
sider necessary to forward to 
Your Excellency, as supple- 
mentary to the report to the 
Marshal of Nobility of Febru- 
ary 27, under No. 3708. 

Accept, Dear Sir, the assur- 
ance of my profound respect 
and devotion. 

N. Novosilzev.' 

To the Moscow Civil Governor. 

By my instruction of Febru- 
ary 15th last, under No 102, 
Your Excellency will have 
been aware that the Ruling 
Senate, having heard the re- 
port of the Minister of War of 
December 23 of last year, 
together with the declaration 
of His Imperial Majesty's 
gracious confirmation concern- 



BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX 281 

ing the persons condemned by 

By Gracious Order the Military Court, according 
re State-Criminals. to the Field Penal Code, for 

criminal designs against the 
Government, has instructed 
me, by the order of December 30th, independently of 
the order made about the publication of the above- 
mentioned Gracious declaration in the Senate journal, 
to notify the same to those Chiefs of Provinces, in whose 
lists of the Nobility the names of the criminals in 
question are entered. 

Among those condemned are : the nobleman Alexey 
Plescheyev, holding no office, and the retired Inspector- 
Lieutenant Fiodor Dostoevsky, who have been 
sentenced by the Auditor-General to death by military 
execution, but His Majesty the Emperor on the 19th 
day of December 1849 was graciously pleased to order 
that : Plescheyev, instead of being executed, shall, 
after having been deprived of all his rights of status, be 
enrolled for military service as private in the Orenburg 
battalions of the line ; and Dostoevsky, instead of being 
executed, shall, after having been deprived of all his 
rights of status, be deported to hard labour for four 
years in the fortresses, after which time he shall be 
enrolled as private in military service. 

Having established from the information collected by 
the Ministry in my charge that Plescheyev and Dos- 
toevsky are entered in the lists of Noblemen of the 
Moscow Province, I have the honour to inform Your 
Excellency of the same in order that the necessary 
steps may be taken in fulfilment of the above-mentioned 
Order of the Ruling Senate. 

The original is signed : Minister of the Interior, 

Count Perovsky. 

Countersigned : Vice-Director, V. Safonov. 

Attested : Senior Assistant Director of the Office, 

Rudnev. 



282 DOSTOEVSKY 

Polivanov, Lev Ivanovich (1838-1899), educationist, 
director of the Polivanov Secondary School, Secre- 
tary (1878-1880) of the ' Society of Lovers of Russian 
Literature,' member of the Unveiling Committee of 
the Poushkin Memorial. 

Polonsky, Yakov Petrovich (1820-1898), poet. 

Poushkin, Anatolii Lvovich, the poet's nephew, the son 
of his brother Lev. 

Rubinstein, Nicolay Gregorievich (1835-1898), director 
of the Moscow Conservatoire. 

Sabourov, Andrey Alexandrovich (1837-1916), Minister 
of Education (who succeeded D. A. Tolstoy). 

Saltykov, Mihail Efgrafovich (who used the pseudonym 
N. Schedrin), author of The Golovlevs, one of the 
greatest of Russian novels, which has been trans- 
lated into French and American, but not yet into 
English. Author also of many shorter tales and 
fables difficult to render into another language owing 
to their whimsical allusiveness. 

Samarin, Ivan Vassilevich (1817-1885), actor. Of the 
Moscow Maly Theatre. 

Soloviov, F. G. (1834-1888), Moscow barrister, delegate 
to the Poushkin Celebration from the Council of 
Barristers. 

Suhomlinov, Mihail Ivanovich (1828-1901), Academi- 
cian, historian of literature. 

Souvorin, Alexey Sergueyevich (1834-1912), journalist, 
editor and publisher of the daily paper Novoye 
Vremya ; afterwards Tchehov's intimate friend. 



BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX 288 

Tretyakov, Serguey Mihailovich (1834-1892), Mayor of 
Moscow, brother of Pavel Tretyakov. 

Tretiakov, Vera Mihailovna, nSe Mamontov (1844- 
1899), the wife of P. M. Tretiakov, the founder of 
the Tretiakov Picture Gallery in Moscow. 

Turgenev, Ivan Serguey evich (1818-1883), had inspired 
Dostoevsky with a feeling of hostility almost from 
the outset of their literary careers. According 
to early letters of Dostoevsky 's there had been at 
first kindness between them ; but resentment of 
Turgenev 's aristocratic manner provoked Dostoev- 
sky to almost passionate dislike and jealousy. This 
was not lessened by the fact of Turgenev's long 
residence abroad. In March 1869 Dostoevsky 
wrote to his niece : ' You write about Turgenev and 
the Germans. Turgenev has become stale through 
living abroad and has lost all his talent, which even 
the Golos has pointed out to him. I am not afraid 
of becoming Germanised because I hate all Germans : 
but it is Russia I need : without Russia I shall lose 
my last little powers, my last little talents/ etc. 
Turgenev was the delegate of the Petersburg 
1 Literary Fund ' to the Poushkin Celebration. He 
arrived in Moscow from Petersburg on April 18, 
1880, and the three weeks from the beginning of 
May till the 24th he spent on his estate, Spasskoye. 
— On April 23, the Moscow authors and men of 
letters gave a dinner in the Hermitage Restaurant 
in honour of Turgenev. (See Peterburgskya Viedo- 
mosti, No. 117, 1880.) — This is the dinner which 
Dostoevsky had in view when he wrote about ' the 
professors paying court to Turgenev.' 



284 DOSTOEVSKY 

In Viestnik Europa for February 1880, we find 
Turgenev's letter to the editor, being a reply to one 
from В. M. Markevich in which the latter, under the 
signature of A Resident of another Town/ attacked 
Turgenev for the applause he had won in 1879, by 
' playing up ' to the younger generation. In his 
letter to the editor Turgenev retaliated and thus 
characterised the ' A Resident of another Town ' : 
* Think only from whose lips these calumnies, 
these accusations come ! From the lips of a 
man, who since his young days has earned the 
reputation of a virtuoso in servility and " boot- 
licking," voluntary at first and finally involuntary/ — 
(See Turgenevsty Sbornik, edited by A. F. Koni, 1921, 
Petersburg, p. 45 et seq.) Apart from this letter in 
the Viestnik Europa there is nothing in any way 
bearing on Dostoevsky that comes from Turgenev. 
Evidently, however, Dostoevsky 's suspicious nature 
took the letter in question as aimed at himself and 
also ascribed all the allusions to a ' fact ' which had 
taken place in his life thirty-five years before. It 
is to the hostility already mentioned that the caustic 
remark in the letters (p. 160) — ' to glorify Verochka ' — 
must be ascribed. On January 17, 1879, Turgenev's 
comedy, A Month in the Country, written in 1850, was 
produced for the benefit of Marie Gavrilovna Savina 
(the most famous of Russian actresses), who scored 
a brilliant success in the part of Verochka. Towards 
the end of the 'seventies Savina's talent had fully 
developed, and Turgenev, when he saw for the first 
time on the stage what Savina had made of the 
character of Verochka (the character having been 
only slightly outlined in the play), looked fixedly in 



BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX 285 

the actress's face in her dressing-room in the 
theatre, and exclaimed : ' Verochka ! ... So this is 
the Verochka that I wrote !!!...' On the day 
following the benefit, Savina was to read at a soiree, 
organised for the benefit of the ' Literary Fund/ 
where Turgenev was also present, the dialogue 
between Count Lyubin and Darya Ivanovna 
Stupendyevna, from Turgenev's comedy, The 
Provincial. Dostoevsky too was there, and said to 
Savina that evening : ' Every word of yours comes 
out as if it were ivory,' and added rather venomously, 
1 while this old boy (i.e. Turgenev) lisps.' The 
success of Verochka in the hands of Savina was 
lasting and much-talked-of. And Turgenev, in 
spite of his sixty-seven years, was violently infatu- 
ated by the actress. It is this infatuation at which 
Dostoevsky hints : he never missed a chance of 
having a fling at Turgenev. (For the whole episode 
see Turgenev and Savina, by A. F. Koni, Petersburg, 
1918.) 

Viskovatov, Pavel Alexandrovich (6. 1842), professor at 
Dorpat (Yuriev) University, held the Chair of 
Russian Literature, and was delegate of the Univer- 
sity to the Poushkin Celebration. 

Yanovsky, Doctor S. D., an old friend of Dostoevsky 's 
(from 1845) and most devoted to him ; author of 
Reminiscences of Dostoevsky. Died in Switzerland 
in 1897, at the age of 79- 

Yazykov, Mihail Alexandrovich (1811-1885), friend of 
Turgenev, Ghief of the Novgorod Excise Board. 

Yuriev, Serguey Andreyevich (1821-1888), author, trans- 
lator of Shakespeare and of the Spanish playwrights ; 



286 DOSTOEVSKY 

President of the ' Society of Lovers of Russian 
Literature* (1878-1884); and editor (1880-1885) of 
the monthly review Russkaya Mysl, published by 
V. M. Lavrov. 

Zolotariov, I. F., one of the oldest members of the ' Slav 
Charitable Society * ; the second delegate of the 
1 Society ' to the Poushkin Celebration. 

Zveriev, Nicolay Andreyevich (1850-191 1) } professor at 
Moscow University, held the Chair of History and 
Philosophy of Law ; subsequently Senator and 
Member of the State Council. 



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